Asian Streetwear

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The Origin of Streetwear

In recent years, Japanese streetwear has significantly influenced western streetwear. The term "streetwear" is used very loosely; it is an umbrella term that can include virtually anything that is not high fashion or luxury. Streetwear was popularized in the late 90s and early 2000s but resulted from a much earlier movement. Streetwear is primarily a clothing style, reflected in its origins in the skater scene, hip-hop fashion, and fashion artisans in New York City and Tokyo. As in Europe and USA, the style was pioneered by the youth subculture around skateboarding and hip-hop but has expanded to many increasingly younger demographics.

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Content:

  • Influences on Western Streetwear
  • Meaning of "Streetwear"
  • Time for Streetwear
  • Streetwear Origins Skateboarding & Hip Hop Culture
  • Streetwear Becomes a Subculture for Young People
  • Streetwear Fashion Elements
  • Another name for streetwear - Harajuku Fashion
  • Characteristics of Fashion in Harajuku, Japan
  • Japanese Streetwear is Not Defined
  • The Aesthetics of Streetwear
  • Characteristics of Harajuku Aesthetics
  • More Personalized Style
  • The Main Elements of Harajuku Style
  • Techwear Meets Streetwear
  • Conclusion

Influences on Western Streetwear

Western brands such as Supreme and A Bathing Ape (a Japanese brand) have been heavily influenced by Japanese culture, which includes using bright colors and graphic patterns. This clothing style has become more popular in the West, especially with the rise of streetwear brands like Off-White, Vetements, and Rick Owens.

Meaning of "Streetwear"

The term "streetwear" is used very loosely. It is an umbrella term that can include virtually anything that is not high fashion or luxury fashion.

However, there are some vital elements to streetwear that make it distinct from other forms of apparel and accessories:

  • Designs tend to be bolder and more graphic than those in high fashion (though they may still be subtle).
  • Colors are brighter than those found on luxury labels.
  • The use of novelty materials such as leather, fur, and suede on clothing items (many of which were initially intended for sportswear)

Time for Streetwear

In the 1980s and 1990s, hip-hop culture significantly influenced fashion. Artists like Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa created new styles quickly adopted by youth in New York City.

In the late 90s and early 2000s, streetwear became popular among urban youth for its individuality and rebellion against mainstream fashion trends. While streetwear could be seen in some stores such as Urban Outfitters or Urban Exchange (both now defunct), it wasn't until 2005 that Adidas released its first sneaker with a "swoosh" logo on them—which later became synonymous with this subculture—and Nike followed suit with similar designs two years later.

Streetwear Origins Skateboarding & Hip Hop Culture

Streetwear is primarily a clothing style, reflected in its origins in the skater scene, hip-hop fashion, and fashion artisans in New York City and Tokyo. Streetwear is used to describe clothing that people on the streets wear. Sneakers, denim jeans, t-shirts with logos or slogans printed on them, and more.

In its early days, streetwear was mainly designed by artists inspired by graffiti art but later became more mainstream as brands started using it as their primary advertising tool. Fashion designers like Marc Jacobs have also played an essential role in creating this new genre, along with other emerging talents like Nigo (the founder of Bape).

Streetwear Becomes a Subculture for Young People

As in Europe and USA, the style was pioneered by the youth subculture around skateboarding and hip-hop but has expanded to many increasingly younger demographics.

The origins of streetwear can be traced back to the early 1990s when hip-hop culture began to take over America. Rapper Tats Cru helped shape this new movement by creating a clothing line that combined streetwear with high-fashion looks. Cru's label "Cru" became an instant success because it appealed to young men and women alike, something that hadn't happened before at this point!

Streetwear Fashion Elements

Streetwear combines elements of traditional clothing like jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, and sneakers with trendy accents that have their own subcultures, like Japanese street fashion, punk, emo, pop art, and hip-hop music.

Another name for streetwear - Harajuku Fashion

In Japan, the trend is called "Harajuku fashion." In Japan, streetwear is particularly famous among young adults who are very big on youth culture. The term "streetwear" refers to any fashion or style that can be worn by people outside of mainstream society and includes items such as t-shirts, hoodies, and jeans with patches or graffiti art on them.

Characteristics of Fashion in Harajuku, Japan

It is a bit different from the European and American trends, where streetwear tends to be harsher and blacker. Japanese "Harajuku fashion" tends to be colorful and often cute and feminine, with lots of pastel colors, animal prints, and pinks.

Japanese Streetwear is Not Defined

With its origins in the punk and DIY subcultures of Harajuku, Japanese streetwear is not defined by just one style. The term "streetwear" has been used to describe a range of fashion items from Japan and overseas—including baseball jerseys to sneakers—worn by non-mainstream youth at parties and festivals.

The term "Japanese streetwear" refers specifically to clothing made by independent designers. While these designers may be inspired by Western styles and trends (such as those found on Kanye West's Yeezy label), they also draw on their heritage for inspiration: Japanese textiles; artisanal skills; traditional patterns; folklore motifs; ikat dyeing techniques...the list goes on!

The Aesthetics of Streetwear

The aesthetic centers on exaggerated silhouettes, eclectic combinations of high-end garments, and a blending of the grunge and gothic subcultures.

The term "Asian streetwear" loosely refers to what's known as Asian Underground (or A-Style), a fusion between Western fashion trends and streetwear. With its emphasis on exaggerated silhouettes and color blocking, this style can be seen all over Asia: in Japan; South Korea; Hong Kong; even China!

Characteristics of Harajuku Aesthetics

While various interpretations of the Harajuku aesthetic exist, most styles are characterized by playful, child-like elements and brightly colored makeup.

  • The first thing that you'll notice when walking into a store like [INSERT NAME OF STORE] is their large eye shadow palettes filled with shades of red, purple, and blue. These colors represent happy feelings such as love or friendship—the same feeling you get when you see someone wearing them on their nails!
  • Another popular item found at any typical Japanese clothing store is a pair of socks with little cartoon characters printed all over them. These socks come in many different designs, but they're always yellow because yellow was traditionally considered an unlucky color back in feudal Japan (before white came into use).

More Personalized Style

The result is a more personalized style that can be worn by anyone and everyone willing to express themselves through their clothing.

The idea behind this brand is simple: you don't have to be an insider or even know someone who knows an insider. You need money and the will to wear something new every day—or at least once in a while!

The Main Elements of Harajuku Style

  • Kawaii (Cute)
  • Gender-less-ness
  • Oversized items
  • Kigurumi (Characters)

Techwear Meets Streetwear: 

Techwear and streetwear are two distinct fashion movements that have recently started to converge, creating a new hybrid style that combines elements of both. Techwear is known for its futuristic aesthetic and functional features. At the same time, streetwear is defined by its casual, urban look and strong ties to subcultures.

One of the critical ways that techwear and streetwear are converging is through technical fabrics and materials. Streetwear brands like Supreme and Off-White have started incorporating techwear-inspired fabrics like Gore-Tex and Schoeller into their designs, adding a touch of functionality to their traditionally casual styles.

Additionally, techwear brands are starting to embrace a more streetwear-inspired aesthetic in their designs. Brands like Acronym and Stone Island, known for their high-tech and practical styles, have begun incorporating more casual and fashionable elements into their techwear pieces. This includes incorporating streetwear-inspired aspects like graphics, logos, and bold colors into their designs.

The convergence of techwear and streetwear is also driven by the rise of athleisure and the blurring of boundaries between casual and formal wear. Techwear and streetwear embrace an informal and relaxed aesthetic, making them natural partners in this shift towards more relaxed fashion.

Overall, the convergence of techwear and streetwear is creating a new and exciting hybrid style that combines the best of both worlds. Whether looking for functional and performance-driven garments or fashionable and casual pieces, this convergence has something for everyone.

Conclusion

The term "Harajuku fashion" is often used to describe the streetwear trend that originated in Harajuku, Japan. The style centers on exaggerated silhouettes, eclectic combinations of high-end garments, and a blending of the grunge and gothic subcultures. Japanese streetwear tends to be very colorful and often cute and feminine, with lots of pastel colors, animal prints, and pinks. Japanese streetwear has been popular among young adults who are very big on youth culture and older folks who want something new yet still have some sense of style.

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