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Monday, May 27, 2013

Editorial: The culture of urban street wear today


The history of street wear is very interesting and depending on your sources can either be a long or very short read. After visiting many sites and reading through a few good library books, it’s evident that one thing is for sure and that’s the culture of street wear developed with Shaun Stussy and his surfing subculture. After signing his surfboards and those he made for others; he started delving into the world of fashion by producing small ranges of surf wear with his trademark signature on them. From there the rest is history as they say… Or is it…

In its years of development street wear went from the surf and skate community to being embraced by hip hop and punk rock. These developments though are not considered accurate interpretations of street wear as they are or were not developed with a sport, activity or recreation as a foundation; but rather they came to be due to a genre of music making a so-called ‘revolutionary’ step in history.

Today what we see is really a combination of street and urban wear. Sports and recreation leisure wear that has been inspired by the skate and surf empires of the past and infused with a sense of high-end fashion styling. The silhouettes for the style have also grown and developed over the years. What started as a range of vest and t-shirts to board shorts and hoodies, has now developed into something a lot more varied.

Credits: Clothes by PUMA, Photography by Sbulelo Tsholoba, Styling by Monde Mtsi, Model is Siya Naka of D&A Model Management

Credits: Clothes by STRATO, Photography by Sbulelo Tsholoba, Styling by Monde Mtsi, Model is Siya Naka of D&A Model Management


As it were, the people on the streets are the masterminds who own street wear because they are the ones who dictate the trends. And urban wear is a result of the people on the streets taking their style to a more adaptive level. An area where it’s okay to dress with a sporty influence while performing day to day tasks in what one could consider a much more affluent environment. Who survives this jungle are brands who’ve learnt to adapt to their consumers’ needs. Brands who see the change and evolve with it.


Urban wear is lesser known for sport and more for leisure, albeit the prime influence on its design is sports. It’s much more laid back, refined and has a silhouette that incorporates basic pieces of street wear and introduces new styles to the style such as button-through shirts, tailored shorts, golf polos, chinos and even high-tech all weather hoodies in some of the most exciting designs, prints and cuts seen yet.

Credits: Clothes by PUMA, Photography by Sbulelo Tsholoba, Styling by Monde Mtsi, Model is Siya Naka of D&A Model Management

Credits: Clothes by STRATO, Photography by Sbulelo Tsholoba, Styling by Monde Mtsi, Model is Siya Naka of D&A Model Management


It really is about the ability to be considered dressed up in an extreme leisure manner. Comfort is key with this trend; one feels a lot more 100% cotton twill items. Polyester (a sometimes – if not all the time – highly flammable fabric) is also used for its comfort and texture features. It, along with cotton, are probably two of the best breathing fabrics on the market today. Ensuring air circulates between skin and fabric freely to help regulate your body’s temperature while out and about. Strato, as a local urban wear brand, continues to provide ranges completely 100% cotton from its track wear to its more urban chino and button-through shirt selections.

Urban wear has also seen a huge range of collaborations with designers and different brands to further enhance the experience and product offerings. PUMA has over the years managed to collaborate with a great range of brands and designers, including luxury car brand BMW Mini and creative mastermind Hussein Chalayan. Capsule collections include key staple pieces with interesting trims, great fabric choices, practical cuts and fashion-forward thinking. The kind of consideration made illustrates their encouragement for consumers to buy into the lifestyle as opposed to the brand, buying into the everyday of wearing the clothes instead of pieces worn once in a while.

Credits: Clothes by PUMA, Photography by Sbulelo Tsholoba, Styling by Monde Mtsi, Model is Siya Naka of D&A Model Management


For someone who hardly pays any attention to street wear or urban wear, I’m grateful for what I have learnt and it surely won’t go to waste. I’ll hopefully be able to further develop more street and urban wear related content in the future. I just urge the current spawn of emerging street wear brands to develop further from just selling branded t-shirts. I understand that is the basic, block and cut and sew and brand and sell. Quickest way to make cash and get your name out there… But if you don’t produce enough on a regular basis, you lose the game. So let’s try to support ourselves and push further.

I just want to thank the brands the responded to our call for help with this piece, you’ve been an immense help and hopefully we can collaborate in the near future.

As for me and urban wear… Let’s see where the road leads…

1 comment:

  1. Loving that shirt from STRATO, would love to get it for my boyfriend, he will definitely look great in it.

    ReplyDelete