Streetwear stands out in the fashion industry. It isn't because it's seen as a youthful, it's because streetwear doesn't care. Ultimately, that's what makes them cool. It's what made Stussy cool when he started selling his signature designs in the 80s. Shawn Stussy simply didn't care. Streetwear embodies the punk scene. It's rebellious and in your face.
There are many mimickers and brands that try too hard, but the soul of streetwear resides in what Shawn Stussy has brought to the game. It doesn't matter if you're a fan of his brand or not, he started it all and continues to kick every other streetwear brand's ass in the industry.
Many relevant brands came out in the 90s that are still known throughout the industry today. Brands like Ecko, Triple 5 Soul, and Freshjive to name a few. Freshjive was the most relevant out of these brands in the industry, because they were the boldest and most clever. Rick Klotz, the founder and artist, always pushed the boundaries of concepts and did it right.
During the 2000s we saw a different type of style come into the streetwear scene. It was moving towards a higher price point and a higher end look. These brands still carried the don't care state of mind that is so popular. LRG, The Hundreds, and 10.Deep emerged onto the scene and haven't looked back. They all sell a lifestyle and the consumers love it because the founders live that lifestyle too. Connecting with the consumer, especially during the 2000s, became crucial to get huge. The Hundreds used the internet to their advantage and gained a following that up and coming brands can only dream of.
Nowadays the graphic tee isn't as big as it once was. It is tough to find a company that completely dominates the graphic tee game because of how saturated it has become. That is why a lot of streetwear brands have gotten into making cut and sew items, such as button ups and parkas, to grow their brand and attract new consumers. It makes sense that the graphic tee isn't as successful for these brands, because as the years passed, both the brand and consumer have grown and matured. Merging the streetwear mentality into a more higher end approach is a great challenge that has made many brands gain an insane following. The one brand that comes to mind is Supreme. Within their own line and their collaborations, they've made items that aren't like any other brand. They're gaining more popularity because of their exclusivity and their style.
Then, there is our brand: Arka. We strive to push the boundaries of what can be put on a graphic tee. Our three designers like to play around with popular beliefs and give it their own twist. We love to use plenty of color coupled with big and bold images to bring our ideas to light. Each design is different than the next, as we do not follow the trend of heavily branding our shirts. Much like what Rick Klotz did with Freshjive in the later stages of his brand, but to a lesser degree. We love to bring smiles to people as much as we love to piss them off.
Streetwear isn't for the faint of heart. It's for people who like to look good, but at the same time, don't care what other people think about them. It's meant for those who take pride in their beliefs as they aim to make a statement about who they are. Even though streetwear is ever evolving, it's mantra will always be the same.