Summer 2016 was just as much of an exciting time for streetwear as any other point in the year, but what marked this season out in particular was the sheer wealth of creative output we saw from across the Highsnobiety world.
In the inaugural Highsnobiety Summer Crowns, presented by Old Spice, we shortlisted the most stylish, influential players in our scene, cross-referenced the hype-inducing with the more experimental and important sneaker drops, as well as shortlisted the most forward-thinking and relevant collections from June to mid-September’s end and let you, our readers, decide on which you thought were the best.
The end of summer is always a useful point at which to take stock and assess on one’s achievements, at least within the creative industries, and especially within fashion and streetwear. It marks the end of a point of culmination that begins the year before and is fueled by the winter months – whether they’re dark and cold in the north, or warm and sun-kissed in the south, both drive creativity.
Selected by us, but ultimately chosen by you, the Highsnobiety Summer Crowns are our way of celebrating the leading forces in our field at that useful mid-way point of the year. Here’s how you voted.
Best Summer Sneaker Release
YEEZY Boost 750 “Grey/Gum”
There’s no doubt that the major waves in the sneaker world, if measured on the hype-meter as well as just on the insane markups, is made by adidas’ sub-line and special sneaker project with Kanye West. The YEEZY Boost 750 “Grey/Gum” is the sneaker you chose as the one which stood out from the rest this summer, but less than a year ago, it was the YEEZY Boost 750 that came a close third in our main end of year Crowns. That was essentially the sneaker that started it all tho, being the first design Kanye released since jumping ship from Nike to adidas. Nobody quite expected the result, with even ourselves doubting whether it could maintain its popularity and transfer into the realm of a ‘classic’ sneaker. However, and if this “Grey/Gum” edition is anything to go by, a fair few of you thought differently. This time round, some 1,468 of you voted with a steady 519 awarding the YEEZY Boost 750 “Grey/Gum”, with its glow in the dark sole units and trademark vamp strap, the title of the best sneaker release of summer 2016. While it’s undeniable that YEEZYs are the soundest investment if you’re a reseller (the current markup is running at a cool 225.7% according to market aggregator, StockX – that’s an average deadstock sale price of $1614, by the way), they are, lest we forget, also a damn fine comfy and stylish sneaker. And that counts for a lot.
Best SS16 Season Collection
UNDERCOVER – “The Greatest”
“I have always been true to myself and believe in free creation,” explained the enigmatic, incredibly humble and creatively prolific Jun Takahashi when we were lucky enough to snag a rare interview from him earlier this year in our spring/summer edition of Highsnobiety magazine. When the famously shy and tight-lipped designer founded UNDERCOVER 25 years ago, streetwear, and fashion, was in a very different place entirely. That Takahashi’s work has continued for a quarter of a century to maintain its position as a shining beacon of sharp and forward-thinking streetwear can only serve as a testament to the man’s creative genius. In 2016, UNDERCOVER released the entirely appropriately titled “The Greatest” collection, which masterfully re-engineered key design motifs from the designer’s own favorite collections into an entirely new retrospective drop. It was a gift to the streetwear community, and you all agreed, with 288 out of 960 of you voting it the number one collection released for the spring/summer 2016 season. However, it should also be noted that Palace and adidas, as well as the work that Alessandro Michele has done with Gucci, each earned the respective brands votes in the 200s as well. Here’s looking to the year’s end to see if this all changes…
Most Stylish Person of Summer 2016
Not to start on a downer, but it is arguable that Kanye West hasn’t had that good of a summer. He endured scathing criticism from fans and press alike as his models endured sweltering New York heat in his hastily planned, and poorly organized, YEEZY Season 4 show earlier this month. While this comes against the backdrop of questions over supply and distribution of his latest Boost sneakers amid another “chaotic” release. But if sheer cold hard sales numbers are anything to go by, Kanye’s influence is still there and it’s stronger than ever. So Kanye West, given his undoubted continual impact, his prolific creative output, as well as your votes, is the most influential and stylish person of summer 2016.
But, and it’s a big but, West only just about scraped to the #1 spot. A staggering 6,960 of you voted (dwarfing our other Summer Crowns category votes by miles, which shows just how much you care, hence this longer write up) with 2,618 of you believing Kanye deserved the Summer Crown, but an incredibly close number of you countered that A$AP Rocky instead should have it instead (2,615 in fact). It’s an incredibly close tie, but while Kanye’s summer has had un-doubtable success and a sprinkling of juicy controversy, Pretty Flacko seemed to excel this summer, if playing it all a little safe. He kicked off the hot season in June with his unveiling as the face of Dior’s FW16 campaign, and then there was of course that pretty lush shoot for Alessandro Michele’s reinvigorated Gucci back in March for SS16 which quickly passed into legendary status. One thing is for sure though, with Kanye’s Chance The Rapper and Drake collab rumors circulating, the delayed “Turbo Grafx 16,” album, as well as not to mention one or two more 350 V2 releases probably in the works, you can’t argue that Kanye is an unparalleled creative force of contemporary culture.
Here’s looking to the year’s end for the final verdicts. Thank you to all our readers and to all who voted. You make Highsnobiety what it is. Don’t forget to check out our partner Old Spice who kindly helped with this inaugural edition of the Summer Crowns.