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Blurred Lines: Streetwear's Invasion of the Fashion Industry

In the last couple of years, we saw streetwear take over the fashion industry.This style, which found its roots in California's surf culture in the late 1970s, used to target a very specific clientele, disassociating itself entirely from high end brands. But how blurry are the lines now and how much have the industry's standards changed?

One of the most interesting aspects regarding street wear might just be how some designers have taken a parodical approach to it. The brand Ssur's take on Comme des Garçons' line is probably the most identifiable player on the market. Other designers such as Brian Lichtenberg make millions manufacturing spin-offs of fashion houses such as Hermès and Céline. The issue with parody is that the success of such streetwear brands became ironical. The influence of artists and models have brought those items to the same level as other designers, to the point where they are being sold in the same department stores, therefore defeating the counter-culture aspect that streetwear had in the first place.

Seeing a shift in customers' wants, various brands which have been in the industry for a very long time, have decided to take advantage of it and either create new products or rebrand their best sellers in order to conform to the new standards set by streetwear. For instance, during the recession, sportswear pioneers such as Nike had to rethink their strategy and widen their range of customers in order to survive, hence the reason why many products such as the Nike Free Runs and the Flyknits have been created. With a wide range of colours, the brand decided to to stay true to itself by developing new technologies, while still making their new products appealing to the fashion-conscious. Sneakers were not just meant to run anymore: they were a fashion statement. Many other companies such as Adidas and Timberland have followed cry similar paths in terms of rebranding or making sportswear fashionable.

With time, streetwear has learned a lot from fashion designers, playing with the concept of exclusivity. With rising prices and limited quantities, streetwear has gained a new identity. It is not rare to see a celebrity wearing Givenchy and Ssur at the same time, as both are now a sign of wealth. Clearly, what used to be a way to defy the industry is now an organic component of it, making the lines blurrier day by day.

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