A couple of years ago, Bobby Hundreds spoke about the current state of streetwear. As the co-founder of The Hundreds in 2004, which is considered to be the timeframe of when the golden age of streetwear began, he is unmistakably one of streetwear’s most notable and respected individuals.

Recently, he further delved into the topic once again, sharing his view about the ever changing fashion landscape, encompassing price, reselling, exclusivity, race, the roots of street culture, and more as 2017 draws to a close.

...on the idea that people used to wear streetwear because nobody else wore it. And today, they wear it because everyone wears it.

BH: "Under Dick Hebdige’s definition of “subculture,” like punk rock pins on a leather jacket, streetwear is a badge of defiance. In its beginning stages, both designer and audience were drawn to streetwear because it lived outside the norms of prevailing fashion and contradicted the dominant order. A discerning customer wanted it because it was irrelevant and couldn’t fit neatly into the mainstream.

In 2017, streetwear couldn’t be more ubiquitous, which is the eventual destination of any viable fashion trend. But, the main stage is problematic for an innately independent act like streetwear. It’s not just off-brand. It’s paradoxical."

...on exclusivity (production), rarity (distribution), and now, it’s about price.

BH: "By its DNA, streetwear’s appeal stems from exclusivity. It’s not a specific look, it’s an attitude of conceit. The customer wants to stand apart by wearing unique clothing. In the past, that specialness came down to rarity. With less availability, the customer traveled and hunted in obscure neighborhoods to find limited-edition treasure (The Internet foiled that). Or, he or she knew someone who knew someone and bought precious goods with social capital (social media distorted this gauge of influence).

Today, streetwear's exclusivity is less about knowledge or access and more about price tag. It’s now about who can afford the clothes over who’s the coolest or most stylish. There’s a dirty undertone of classism in all this, which again is contradictory to streetwear’s premise."

...on streetwear prioritizing commerce over community.

BH: "There is less sense of culture now, only clothing and capital. Most young people entering the fray are lured by the financial value of things, as opposed to the relationships or story. Streetwear’s magic was in connecting creator with consumer. Now, it connects consumers with cash.

Reselling. Reselling has always been one of streetwear’s cornerstones, but it now eclipses all facets of the ecosystem. The pitfall, however, is that reselling isn’t a sustainable means of holding up a subculture, because it’s about money, not art."

...on streetwear showcasing its power of diversity, as it's a glimpse into the future of all fashion, not just street.

BH: "Every generation has its streetwear. In the ‘80s, it was called surf. The look was so favored, that even thousands of miles from the coastline, Midwesterners chased the sun-bleached California dream in Quiksilver, OP, and Gotcha. In the ‘90s, it was skateboarding – DC to DVS. Today, streetwear may share the same influences and aesthetic (T-shirts and caps), but there are contextual differences. Most notably, racial diversity in audience and ownership. For the first time, POC are not only the faces of fashion, but also the designers and the founders (even the late 1990s urban labels – while fronted by black rappers – were overwhelmingly backed by white owners and garmentos).

For the last century, minority culture has inspired youth music and fashion trends, even if people of color weren’t behind the curtain. But, social media demands authenticity, rewarding brands that reflect the spectrum of customers, from its internal staff to product offerings.

Streetwear also owes much of its popularity to rap’s reign in pop music. As Black music sits atop the Billboard charts, its fashion component follows. Rap is pop, therefore streetwear is fashion. I wonder how much longer rap will wear the crown and what that means for streetwear’s tenure. Pop music evolves with every high school graduating class: Beatles to Britney to Uzi. If K-pop is next, perhaps fashion will drop the hoodies and pull from lenticular spacesuits? This antiquated notion, however, of white-male-owned brands selling white (and Black) male culture to white men is over. I don’t hear too many groans about that from a market that is only getting increasingly diverse."

For more, view the entire piece directly at The Hundreds and happily share your thoughts below.

In comparison, sneaker culture is a reminder that we’re all just animals.

What To Read Next

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Forget 5-Inch Inseams, Our Shorts Are Reaching 3/4 Length Territory

    Style
  • medicom bearbrick

    These Are the Best BE@RBricks to Buy at Resale Right Now

    Design
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Joe Freshgoods & Vault by Vans Enjoy “The Honeymoon Stage”

    Sneakers
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Lourdes Wants to Be The Next Big American Luxury Brand

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Willkommen! VEJA To Open Sustainable Berlin Flagship

    Culture
  • Spencer Phipps photo

    Spencer Phipps Says Save the Fucking World (& Have Fun Doing It)

    Style
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titelmedia (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titelmedia strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titelmedia has engaged UsableNet Inc, a leading web accessibility consultant to help test, remediate and maintain our Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Disclaimer

Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.