Street style is always the latest fashion, but there’s more than fashion to it: just take a look at our recent history and you’ll discover a wide cultural background behind it.
There is a lot of buzz about ‘street style’. You must have noticed the recent increase in the number of web pages featuring the words ‘street style’: if London Fashion Week is coming up, the first look will be at the street style of the people attending the shows. You browse a fashion magazine online to get a look at the latest trends and the latest trend will unfailingly be the street style.
What’s going on? Where are the old fashioned fashionistas wearing their Chanel suits and Dior purses?
Don’t panic, they are still there, all lined up by the catwalks, with their notebooks open and pens ready to write about the upcoming defilé. They are just hiding inside some baggy trousers or under a (hopefully fake) furry waistcoat.
So, what is ‘street style’ actually about? You may want to define it as ‘whatever you feel like wearing, keeping an eye on the latest catwalk trends’, but there’s more than fashion to it.
‘Street’ is the culture of people, especially young (or young at heart) people, who spend most of their time on the streets. It started with the Teddy Boys in the fifties, who used to walk the streets with their tight trousers and pointed shoes; then the Hippies came in the late sixties and seventies, who celebrated peace and love, populating parks with their flowery skirts and large pants and their bandanas. With the turn of the next decade the Punks came out on the streets to shout out their rebellion against the system with their dyed hair and outrageous behavior, wearing provocative slogan t-shirts and ripped, colored jeans. On the other side of the ocean, Hip Hop made its way onto the streets in the eighties, which saw people breakdancing on sidewalks in their baggy jeans and fluorescent colored shirts.
Those people tried to create a better world, shouting their rebellion out in the streets both with their voices and with their clothes. They impacted the whole of society very strongly and they still are the symbols of fighting for the right things, human rights, peace and freedom: so iconic that they will never go out of fashion.
To get back to the fashion subject, just think about the clothing style of the above mentioned culture movements and you will realize that many of the distinctive items those guys were wearing decades ago are still on the streets… and are coming back onto the catwalks!
Pointed shoes, hats, tight jackets and drainpipe trousers, wedge shoes, flowery dresses (D&G made the whole 2011 summer collection out of bright colored flowery clothes), scarves, bright colors, baggy trousers and statement t-shirts, it’s all there.
Designers, of course, also get some of their inspiration from street styles when designing a new collection, but it’s actually a dog chasing its tail: street style itself is made of latest trend items mixed with street culture items.
So this is where the above mentioned Dior purse is, matched with a military jacket and canvas wedges. And the Chanel suit is probably under that purple sleeveless cape paired with big boots.
In the end, street style is not simply ‘whatever you feel like wearing’; it is instead the fruit of deep research through the history of fashion, mixed with the true expression of a sense of belonging to the old culture of rebellion against the establishment.
And yes, it’s a great fun to play with mixing all sorts of different styles of clothes, but don’t get too enthusiastic and take a moment to look thoroughly in the mirror before going out: if you are not that in to trends and fashion, there’s a high risk of looking like a clown.