Ask anyone to name a streetwear brand and chances are one of the first names to roll off their tongue will be that of skateboard label Supreme. The transcendent New York brand’s unique approach to the supply-and-demand model revolutionised the scene by introducing “drops” as a means of releasing new products in highly limited numbers. This created a sense of hype that sees fans routinely queuing up for days just to get their hands on anything bearing that iconic box logo – even if that does happen to be a brick or an ashtray.
If there’s one brand that could be called the living embodiment of London’s gritty skate scene, Palace is surely it. In just 10 short years the UK label has gone from an underground imprint for skateboard decks and T-shirts to one of the most respected names in mens fashion . Head to their webstore on drop day and you’re likely to find five-panel caps juxtaposed against velvet smoking jackets and snakeskin loafers.
It was arguably the Americans that invented streetwear, but if anyone’s serious about it, it’s Japan. Neighborhood is one of Nippon’s proudest exports when it comes to dark, moody streetwear, and has been a frequent collaborator with heavyweights such as Adidas, Converse, Dr. Martens and even affordable watch brand Timex.
After cutting his teeth at Fendi alongside Kanye West, Off-White founder Virgil Abloh exploded onto the scene, quickly becoming one of fashion’s most prominent figures. Now at the helm of Louis Vuitton’s menswear arm, the designer somehow still finds time to run his own label, poking fun at the industry with tongue-in-cheek branding and an ever-present sense of irony.
The basketball GOAT, Michael Jordan revolutionised sneaker culture (with a little help from Nike and legendary sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield) with the launch of his signature line of footwear. Since the beginning of the scene, the Jordan brand has been a cornerstone of streetwear, churning out some of the mos iconic trainer silhouettes in history.
Dutch brand Patta began life as so many streetwear brands do – as limited line of graphic T-shirts. The tees were originally sold out of a multi-brand boutique, but as demand grew for them Patta began to morph into a streetwear label in its own right. Now with a string of high-profile collaborations with everyone from Carhartt to Nike under its belt, the brand has cemented its name as one of the finest around.
There are a handful of brands that have earned respect in all corners of casual menswear. Oregonian sportswear behemoth Nike is one of them. From iconic sneakers to genre-bending sportswear, as well as knockout brand hookups with every major name on the scene – including the likes of Supreme and Virgil Abloh – Nike is one of the kings of streetwear.
For a long time, in the States, Carhartt was nothing more than a workwear brand, making high-quality overalls and apparel designed to take a beating. However, in Europe, the label took on another form. Here, you were more likely to see DJs and skaters wearing its goods than mechanics and carpenters. Carhartt’s response to its newfound fanbase came in the shape of Carhartt WIP (Work In Progress): a streetwear-orientated line that focused on ultra-cool designs, without sacrificing any of that trademark rugged quality.