In the past two years, there have been a lot of changes in the high fashion industry. The rise of streetwear amongst teens and adults alike has caused the two branches of the industry to merge, blurring the lines between the two distinctions.
One of the main reasons for the newfound popularity of streetwear was designer Virgil Abloh. With Off White, Abloh created one of the first brands that fell under the “high-end streetwear” category, which essentially acts as a limbo for overpriced streetwear clothing. Due to his connections in the fashion world and the fact that his clothes were loved by the wealthy masses, Abloh was quickly able to rise in the ranks and now, his collections are displayed every season during Paris fashion week. A story like this surely serves as a source of inspiration for other streetwear brands, who desire the same level of fame and cultural acclaim that Abloh has been able to achieve. In a way, he paved a way for these brands as now, not only do we see high fashion brands taking inspiration from streetwear brands but some go so far as to collaborate with them.
To me, these collaborations seem bittersweet because while it’s cool to see some of my favourite streetwear brands work with some of my favourite high fashion designers, it almost seems highly unnecessary. On one hand, it exposes these brands to a new clientele that they otherwise would not have access to but on the others, it devalues the high fashion market. With streetwear brands, as much as the designs can be well thought out, it does not compare to the work that is supposed to go into creating and creating a high fashion runway show. Streetwear is a branch of the industry-driven predominantly by hype, whereas, at the core, high fashion is meant to be a display of a designer’s creative skill and his/her team’s craftsmanship; the ability to create works of art with fabric. Recently, however, because of the influx of streetwear, the industry becomes more and more hype-driven, with the uninspiring and messy collection being thrown onto the runways. So here are some of the top fashion collaborations to come out of 2017 & 2018:
Louis Vuitton and Supreme This collaboration was the first of its kind and was unveiled during the Paris Men’s Fashion Week in January 2017. The collab occurred under then artistic director, Kim Jones, who is himself a huge streetwear fan. This collection, although quite offensive to look at, became the brand’s highest-selling and was only just recently overtaken by Virgil Abloh’s designs. Polo Ralph Lauren and Palace This collab dropped on 9th November 2018 and was a pretty weird one, to say the least. Ralph Lauren is one of the most traditional and classic brands that I associate almost immediately with my parents and the outfits I was forced to wear at 7 years old. So, the fact that they collaborated with Palace, one of the most popular skatewear brands at the moment, was strange to me. I will say though, there were some items that I wanted, most of all the sweater with a skateboarding Ralph Lauren bear.
Burberry and Gosha Rubchinskiy
This is yet another weird ass collaboration to come out of 2018 as Gosha Rubchinskiy, the Russian streetwear designer, teamed up with British fashion house Burberry for his Fall/Winter 2018 collection. Now before I found out that Rubchinskiy was a total creep, I was actually a pretty big fan of his clothing. His graphic tees with Russian lettering were all the rage in 2015 and I was very much all for it. That being said, this collaboration did not sit well with me as not only was it unnecessary, the clothes were pretty ugly.
With all that being said, it is safe to say that High Fashion becomes more surprising and unpredictable as the days go by. It will be interesting to see what else these designers have in store for us and just how far they can push the boundaries before completely desecrating the industry.