Words by Kendra Hunsely
‘Fashion wants to be street so bad and street wants to be fashion.’- Heron Preston
The above notion rings true to the current state of fashion. Over the years, brands such as Givenchy, Raf Simons and more recently, Vetements, have continuously blurred the line between luxury fashion and streetwear by including streetwear inspired pieces such as hoodies as part of their collections. Luxury brands are also now aligning themselves with streetwear brands, a concept they may have turned up their nose to just a few years ago (E.g The Supreme x Louis Vuitton collaboration). On the flip side, it’s evident that streetwear has this burning desire to garner the same reverence from the higher ups within the fashion industry. Streetwear no longer resides solely on the cobbled streets of Paris; it has infiltrated fashion’s most renowned runways.
Below are the 5 Best Streetwear brands that showcased at Paris Fashion Week Men’s SS/18.
(Images: Pause Online)
Parisian label Pigalle collaborated with NikeLab and created an exquisite collection comprising of vibrant colours, basketball-inspired pieces with an array of textures such as a wire-like sleeved jacket and a quilted vest. Stephane Ashpool, founder of Pigalle, named the store after the area in which he grew up in. ‘It’s less than a label and more of a culture movement,’ Ashpool explains. The show took place at the Musee’ d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, his first full collection with Nike which also includes footwear. It was a kaleidoscopic vista, with every look being so impeccably styled.
‘You Live Alone, You Die Alone’
Vlone, a streetwear label co-founded by Asap Bari, Asap Rocky and CLOT’s Edison Chen, debuted its first ever show at Paris Fashion Week at the renowned Pavillon Cambon establishment. As one can imagine, a streetwear label for the kids by the kids birthed in Harlem, having its first show in the fashion capital of the world is a surreal moment. The theme of the collection was Black History, a way of paying homage to Young Lord’s past growing up in Harlem. The show was streamed exclusively on the music streaming platform, Tidal. The first show and production is hardly ever without mishaps and many creatives can attest to that. Critics could not disregard the collection including multiple versions of the same item with just a change of colour on the graphics being the only way to differentiate them. Closer to home, there was much discourse around a pair of orange pants which was included in his collection that was an exact replica of pants worn by prisoners in South Africa. The show starting nearly an hour late along with technical difficulties definitely added insult to injury. Still, the general consensus about the show along with the collection was it was a passable effort and will have no issues selling out if hypebeasts have anything to do with it. The brand also debuted it’s collaboration with Nike including multiple colourways of the Air Force 1 Highs.
John Elliott, an eponymous brand best known for being the aficionado of basics like hoodies, sweats and tees, debuted his collection exclusively on Instagram. The presentation featured the likes of Asap Nast, Luka Sabbat, Nick Young and South Africa’s very own Riky Rick. An unconventional presentation, the label had Luka Sabbat unveil the first look by posting a picture on his instagram account and then tagging Josephine Skriver’s page, prompting his followers to unlock the next look and so on. The collection comprised of parkas, anoraks, a washed corduroy jacket, tie-dyed pieces with an array of earthy tones apparent throughout the collection.
(Images: Fashion Maniac)
For his second season, Heron Preston held a presentation titled “Show House”. The collection was inspired by model homes in small cities that usually have ‘kitschy’ artwork and design elements. The inspiration came through in the form of generic graphics of cats and fruit bowls on sweatshirts. This was also Heron’s first womenswear collection. Remaining within his workwear realm, the collection also included hiking pants and high visibility pieces such as a mini skirt and cropped jacket.
Turkish designer Bunyamin Aydin is behind the streetwear label Les Benjamins. Focusing on Australia and New Zealand, the collection combined both aboriginal and British influences. Aydin is heavily influenced by cultures and extracts inspiration from every corner of the globe he possibly can. Although expressing his desire to bring awareness to different cultures of the world, it becomes a slippery slope as claims of cultural appropriation easily come into play. The collection included a poncho hoodie with Aboriginal polka dot paintings, leather vests and striped bajas. The presentation took place in a Bohemian inspired set up with Persian carpets along with a Paris-based Maori performing the Haka.