We often come across the term “street style” nowadays. It became quite popular in the past few years, but what does it really mean and when did it become a thing?
Suburbanization, mass marketing, the franchising of restaurant and retail chains, the spread of television and not to mention, social media, may have increased the appeal of “alternative” lifestyles for individuals in search of “authenticity.”
Combining different styles, like elegance and sport at the same time, became an attractive tool for representing yourself.
We all know how our grandparents react when they see the evolution of style in this modern era. They are simply at a loss of words.
They cannot make sense of the fashion trends in which, for instance, elegance is not just a nice dress for a girl anymore, but girls and boys can practically wear the same clothes, like sneakers, T-shirts or even baggy pants.
That being said, let us dive into the history and evolution of street style, the big fashion cities of street style and what the future of fashion holds.
What is street style?
By definition, street style is a specific fashion style originating from the British fashion culture.
It is a comprehensive approach to fashion and includes styles which intersect, differ from mainstream fashion considerations and are based on individualism and not strictly focusing on current fashion trends.
We all know that, through clothes and accessories, individuals can make a statement and show a little bit of their inner persona.
Street style helps individuals demonstrate their multiple identities, in addition to utilizing subcultural and intersecting styles or trends.
This, in itself, is a performance, as you can always put on a little show that suits your mood.
Street style is an incredibly viral, instant, addictive facet of fashion that’s changed the ways in which fashion is made and consumed.
Evolution of street style
Street style is considered a phenomenon of the 20th century even though it has always existed and has always been part of human culture. However, it didn’t have any impact on fashion until the end of the Second World War.
Icons like Christian Dior and Pierre Balmain contributed to freedom of exploration when it comes to street style.
A higher incomes enabled people to purchase high fashion products.
During that time, the looks of “street style” icons primarily consisted of a single high-fashion brand. Women donned the “new look”, synthesized by Christian Dior, which often included a long circle skirt and a tailored jacket with broad shoulders and a tapered waist.
This emphasized the female figure, replacing the “utility look” of the wartime period. This hourglass shape took advantage of the plethora of fabric that had been scarce during the war.
In England, this kind of phenomena has been studied for a long time and has revealed the importance of young people’s street styles in the post-war period, which may be linked to the generation of baby boomers, who came to represent a new sociocultural category – the “teenager” – who has money to spend and be an important motivation.
The historical overview of street style
The history of identity and the history of clothing have always been parallel. In this connection, street style works as a facilitator of group identity and subcultural cohesion.
The 20th century was characterized by a strong connection between street style and the fashion industry. The original roots of the street style phenomenon can be linked to authenticity and the desire to express some meaningful intention.
The street style development in the mid-20th century was rather different than the more recent stages of the street style development. They primarily differ in the way of purchasing and general perception of fashion.
Street style has evolved from a common social practice adopted by particular sociocultural groups to an important segment of mass fashion industry. This process was very long; it was accompanied by extensive social, cultural and economic changes.
The chaos that occurred after World War II had an impact on the overall growth of mass culture.
It was a period when people wanted to make a change from the already-known ordinary style. As a result, various groups occurred, each with its own different style: hippies, punks, goths or bikers.
The need for a change was as strong as the need for making a statement. These groups still exist and even have a reputation in the world: you can say you are respected for being different and not afraid to show your style.
To be able to experiment with your style, you had to be a person with a free spirit nature, as they called it in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
No wonder everyone nowadays brings back the ‘80s look; it was a period of colors, new trends and, simply, of bringing fashion to life.
Streetwear style became popular through hip hop, skateboarding, and social media and therefore, became so much more eye-catching and bolder.
It ranges from baggy clothes, casual T-shirts and sneakers to combining the colors, prints and designs that you would probably not wear in public otherwise.
With Instagram bursting in popularity, no wonder images of people randomly walking through the streets and taking random pictures became so popular.
It’s supposed to be fun and energetic, combining fashion through its own language.
Instagram, a leading mobile application for stylizing and sharing photos on the web, has proven its popularity not only among street style amateurs, but also among street style photographers, some of whom have amassed followings in the thousands.
Instagram is a platform providing quick and flexible exchange of activities convenient for anyone wanting to make a brand of themselves or simply share their life events with friends.
But over the years it has become so much more than just a platform – it is a community providing space to anyone in any area, especially fashion.
With Instagram, you are always up to date with the latest trends and changes, particularly in street style.
Street style photographers should be grateful to Instagram because of its popularity. It opened up a new world of media coverage that didn’t exist before.
Instagram can be used as a playground for the people who want to express themselves without being mocked at.
What seems really “weird” in real life doesn’t seem so silly on Instagram. Moreover, the clothes that look good in pictures may seem rather theatrical and pretentious in real life, especially against the urban background.
From the colors you combine to the footwear you wear, it all looks simply amazing in pictures. It probably takes a lot of time even to get a quality photo, but once it’s out there, everyone can relate to it and create their own ideas.
The aroma should be entirely natural.
Sports street style
You could say that street style is just an excuse to wear sporty clothes out on the streets as often as possible.
However, it is obvious that people also get influenced by supermodels who work for various sports brands. Therefore, it gets easier to influence ordinary people with a taste for sportive clothing, like for example, Kanye West, who crossed into fashion although his primary occupation had always been music.
While he’s known for his ongoing Yeezy line, comprising show-stopping runway presentations, Adidas collaborations, and lots of Kim Kardashian street style, the rapper has also released released Nike and Louis Vuitton sneakers and launched a few clothing lines.
Furthermore, a sport which particularly influenced the forming of the street style is skateboarding. The image of the street style follower often corresponds with skateboarding practice.
Sneakers with special soles that keep the feet from slipping on the board have become part of the street style and are found in the wardrobes of non-skaters
The big hubs of street style
Love, lights, dreams and… street style in Paris.
It is the fashion capital of the world, so it is no surprise that it is mentioned anywhere, anytime. Paris is the perfect example of a ‘city look’, a collective image – certain fashion garments, specifics and lifestyles that that define urbanity in an urban context.
For instance, an image of ‘La Parisienne’, – the typical Parisian woman – does consist not only of clothing but also of certain manners, values and behavioral patterns associated with the city? and its inhabitants.
Japanese street style was not only created by famous professional Japanese designers, but is led by high school girls who have become extremely influential in controlling the fashion trends.
These fashion-conscious, or fashion-obsessed, youngsters indirectly and directly dictate this type of Japanese fashion. It is not an exaggeration to say that they are the agents of fashion, who take part in the creation and dissemination of fashion.
Japanese street fashion has emerged from the social networks among different institutions of fashion as well as various street subcultures, every one of which is identified by a unique and original look.
These teens rely on a distinctive appearance to proclaim their symbolic, subcultural identity.
This identity is not of a political or ideological nature; it is simply an innovative fashion that determines their group affiliation.
London is considered as one of the most important Fashion capitals. However, in contrast to Milan and Paris, London’s fashion is closer to the sense of royalty and tradition and strong street style culture.
Being a multiethnic city with a great concentration of the cultures and their traditions, London is a place where street style embodies not only the general popular fashion concepts, but it also works as a tool for expressing social and cultural identities.
One of the major reasons London has proven itself as a European street style center is the fact that British fashion players are seen as having a more open, flexible and innovative approach to fashion and cooperation with young promising talents.
This attitude creates more open-mindedness and more affinity towards street style and promotion of sustainable fashion practices.
You can never do something wrong in the name of fashion in New York City.
It doesn’t matter if you walk around in your pajamas or wear high heels just to go to the bakery. For all we know, you can walk, sing and dance wherever you are, it won’t look strange because it is the number 1 city of big dreams and fashion.
Just remember the movie 13 going on 30 and you’ll know what we are talking about. If street style wasn’t invented until then, this movie would have done it.
What the future holds
Well, street style can’t really ever go out of style because we have to wear something, but the question is until when, because the time when street style was at its peak has changed.
Now every individual with a good phone and an Instagram account can take street style pics and consider themselves influential.
The number of fashion bloggers, influencers and celebrities is rapidly growing and most of them are paid to wear an item so there is really little room left for authenticity.
What still remains unique is the casual street style photography in the city during the day.
It is not set up or prepared in advance. A photographer randomly walks through the city and takes random photos of casually dressed people. That captures the essence of individuality and creativity.
The fashion industry will probably be more about paid advertisements, sponsorships and influencers dressed by stylists – it’s inevitable, but as long as there’s something that captures a photographer’s eye, there is some authenticity left.
What will your future style look like?
You probably had your own street style evolution and today you probably wonder why you wore what you wore in a specific time of your life.
Styles change, but let us tell you something – retrolution is on and we are sure that, even today, you can rock your retro street style and feel stylish, secure, confident and fresh. Shine bright every day!