Culture offer participants an identity outside of that

Culture is
what makes up a society’s expression, both through material things and beliefs.
Society refers to people who interact in a defined territory and share a
culture. Within every society there may be many different cultures as well as
many different subcultures. ‘The word ‘subculture’ is loaded down with
mystery. It suggests secrecy, masonic oaths, an Underworld. It also invokes the
larger and no less difficult concept culture.’ (Hebdige, 1979) Hebdige then continued to state that ‘culture
is a notoriously ambiguous concept’ as the meaning throughout centuries
of usage has changed, the result being the word itself has gained several
different, mostly contradictory meanings. ‘A youth
subculture is a youth-based subculture with distinct
styles, behaviours, and interests. Youth subcultures offer participants an
identity outside of that ascribed by social institutions such
as family, work, home and school. Youth subcultures
that show a systematic hostility to the dominant culture are sometimes
described as countercultures.’ (Wikipedia)

Many
people speculate as to the when and how Streetwear began, there is not a
definite time or place specified. But, some say it started at the end of the
1970’s and the early 1980’s. ‘By definition,
streetwear is a casual clothing
style, typically worn by urban youths in a variety of subcultures. In reality
though, the term streetwear is increasingly broad and it seems to adopt a new
meaning after every single fashion season.’ (Fearless Summer, 2017) During this time, there was an emergence in
the punk scene that would eventually become hip hop. The desire amongst youth culture to have its own style has constantly
driven this broad style genre to sub-divide and re-invent itself. Streetwear brands of the late 70s and 1980s borrowed
heavily from the ‘do it yourself’ aesthetic of punk, new wave and heavy-metal
cultures. Many surfers and skaters also adopted this DIY approach, producing
their own branded surfboards and T-shirts with their own designs. The most
notable of the DIY T-shirt pioneers was surfboard designer Shawn Stüssy, who
began selling printed T-shirts featuring the same trademark signature that he
placed on his own custom surfboards. ‘If streetwear was a religion, then
Shawn Stüssy would be its God with other brands constantly taking a page out of
Stüssy’s gospel on how to become a massively influential name.’ In
2011, Complex enlisted Bobby Hundreds the co-founder of The Hundreds to write
an article where he compiled a list of the 50 Greatest Streetwear Brands of all
time. He listed Bape, Supreme and Stüssy as the
Top 3 Greatest with Bape coming in third, Supreme in second, and Stüssy being first. Founded in 1980, Shawn Stüssy the
creator and founder began designing clothing and prints for surf and skatewear.
In the article by Complex, Bobby Hundreds spoke about the success of Stüssy and summarised it by saying that ‘Stüssy took a multi-faceted, subculturally diverse,
Southern California lifestyle-based T-shirt brand and mimicked the limited feel
of a high-end luxury brand. And those are the two most integral components of
what makes a brand streetwear: T-shirts and exclusivity.’ 
(Complex, 2011) Over the next 10 years the streetwear and urban
clothing market grew and grew.
‘Due to the over production of cheap synthetic clothing which flooded the
market, there were no fashion rules during these days; fashion was all about
individual identity, freedom and expression.’ (Poetic Gangster, 2017)

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 Japan was
the next market to catch on to the streetwear ideal and as always, they brought
their own unique styles to the table. Japanese designers drew on influences
from anime, toys and gadgets as well as their own style of Japanese street art.
This in turn influenced streetwear and the different types of styles and
designs were soon adopted worldwide. Nigo founded Bape in 1993. ‘At that point, Nigo was already a fixture in the Japanese streetwear
scene.’ (Esquire, 2017) Nigo can be looked at as the person who was able to
transcend streetwear across cultures and
continents. ‘Bape managed rise to the level of mass consciousness.’ (Esquire, 2017) A year after Bape was founded in 1994, James Jebbia
started his own company in Supreme, a skateboarding shop and clothing brand.
The first store open on Lafayette Street in New York. Jebbia’s design
for the Supreme New York store was more open so skaters could come right in
with their skateboards. ‘This was New York pre-internet,
pre-mobile phones, pre-gentrification.’ (GQ, 2017) By the mid 90’s streetwear had firmly
established itself within the world market, and now Streetwear is big business
with the high street and designer fashion brands taking on many of the ideas
and innovations that the original brands brought to the fashion world.