Streetwear is about lifestyle. And it always has been. Since its humble beginnings as a California surf style (think Shawn Stussy and his “International Tribe”), streetwear has been a powerful force that promotes individuality, freedom of expression, and an anti-authority fashion aesthetic.
Streetwear has changed over the years. It’s a different beast today than it was in the early 80s when long-haired dudes who looked like Bodhi from Point Break sold surf and skate print t-shirts out of the trunks of their cars.
Believe it or not, in the early aughts buying streetwear from other parts of the world was almost impossible. American brands had found their way to Japan, but Japanese brands were scarce in America. In the early days, streetwear was about certain streets and neighborhoods; it was regional. Karmaloop was still run out of a basement. Without Twitter and Instagram, hype spread slowly. Word of mouth was king. But the lifestyle, the “concept “ of streetwear… that unique fusion of skate, surf, pop, and hip-hop culture, that was a global concept.
Streetwear brands used to incorporate more social and political commentary into their designs. Police brutality, race relations, spirituality, streetwear was as much a form of protest as it was an aesthetic. In 2004, Supreme launched a classic white on red box design with a logo proclaiming: Fu*K Bush. Street artist Shepard Fairey incorporated totalitarian imagery into his t-shirt designs. To borrow a phrase from the 1960s, “the political is personal.” And if you wanted to take a stand against the status quo and illustrate your allegiance to a different tribe –skaters, surfers, the dudes who listened to hardcore and moshed their way through the underground clubs of NYC –then you dressed in streetwear.
Streetwear brands still represent the underground subculture. However, political and social commentary is an afterthought. Individuality and freedom of expression are what drive streetwear today. Streetwear is interpreted differently around the world –the lads in London might find Japanese streetwear too colorful and cute, whereas the Magna boys in Tokyo will take one look at the lads’ hip-hop track-suits and run like hell.
The fashion styles are different, sure, but the desire to express individuality is the same. That’s the essence of streetwear. And that’s the essence of what Breakbounce brings to India.
Welcome to the new urban underground!