Last year was a big one for streetwear. Fashion’s long-forgotten cousin hit the mainstream, with everything from the Yeezy line to Gosha’s post-Soviet chic to Vetements’ high-end take on hats and hoodies dominating runways and the street style shots outside them. But even as the column-fillers hold strong, aficionados know than small labels releasing tightly controlled, coveted collections, are where streetwear is most exciting. Here are seven brands to keep an eye on this year.
Virgil Abloh’s credentials need no introduction to dedicated streetwear fans. Kanye West’s fashion advisor is involved in an endless stream of projects and collaborations, but his Milan-based label Off-White (founded in 2014) is the one that will be receiving mainstream attention this year. It’s a refined collection that captures the essence of streetwear, but whose wallet-destroying prices and crisp aesthetic firmly put it in the bracket of luxury fashion.
This minimalist varsity jacket (€756) is a key piece, traditional and pared-down on the front panels, but featuring the signature Off White logo on the back. Because logos are all-important, even in fashion’s upper echelons.
Thames London is the brainchild of Blondey McCoy, an 18-year-old skater, artist and designer. Now in its second year, the skatewear brand has a fun feel to it, with graphic T-shirts featuring Anglophile prints or twists on classic Disney characters. McCoy has an authenticity often lacking in fashion lines based on the skate scene – he’s part of the Palace Skateboards crew and models for their lookbook. These reference points to the scene he grew up in were clearly enough to get him noticed – Thames is stocked by London’s famous skate shop Slam City Skates, as well as Supreme.
This graphic T-shirt (£34.99) featuring a child-like sketch is one to pick up.
Anti Social Social Club
Since launching its ridiculously small capsule collection last year, Anti Social Social Club has attempted to keep an air of mystique in an era where streetwear lovers are compelled to upload every new item they cop to social media. Stussy employee Neek Lurk’s brand is all graphic T-shirts and curved brim dad caps, albeit accompanied with virtually no product information, on a website that holds no clues as to what the company is about.
Naturally everything on the brand’s site is currently sold out, despite there being a fresh restock of products earlier this week. Keep an eye out and you too may be able to cop one of its hoodies, tees or coach jackets.
Daniel w. Fletcher
With the success of Palace and the aforementioned Thames London, you’d be forgiven for thinking that UK streetwear is solely focused on a skuzzy, gritty aesthetic that you’re more likely to see on a rundown estate than a runway. Be thankful, then, that Central Saint Martins’ graduate Daniel w. Fletcher is breathing fresh life into the mix. His line couples traditional British tailoring’s attention to detail with a look that seems equally inspired by northern soul and classic sportswear.
Fletcher’s current collection is naturally very small and focused, with one of the most requested items being this pyjama shirt (£210).
London luggage company Comutor has recently released a line of nylon backpacks that bring to mind puffer jackets (and latterly, Uniqlo’s phenomenally popular down jackets). Offering two designs in a set of wintery, tonal colours that work well with any outfit, these bags not only rework the traditional look and feel of a backpack, but do it at a price point that is affordable to anyone.
If in doubt, go for black – this backpack (£30) will never go out of fashion and can be mixed with everything in your wardrobe, from relaxed tailoring to monochrome streetwear.
Yardsale is a south London-based skate clothing company that brings to mind summery days spent on the west coast of the US. The brand has been championed by a handful of British skate shops since early 2014 with plans to bring more stock to the US soon. Be in no doubt as to Yardsale’s credentials – the company has a full skate team and filmed an original video (LDN-LAX) two years ago.
Sweatshirts, decks, stickers and jackets are all available on its website, with the handwritten logo bringing to mind Yohji Yamamato. The lined Eisenhower jacket (£80) is our favourite piece, which is something you can imagine Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive wearing if his form of transport was four rather than two-wheeled.