Streetwear Has Always Been Male Dominated
Women No Longer Working Just Working Behind The Scenes
Women Have Always Worked Behind The Scenes In Streetwear To Make Things Happen.
As they aren’t the faces of the brands, you don’t hear about them often or maybe they’re too busy actually working and don’t have time to self-promote. But that’s the purpose of this piece, to shine a light on some of the women you probably haven’t heard of and show all the ways they contribute to some of your favorite brands.
2020 Could Be The Year When Women’s Streetwear Clothing Get’s Over Due Respect?
In recent times gender boundary in the fashion industry has come together. In turn has played a pivotal role in streetwear by the women’s fashion world. That said, we will see more profound influence led by women’s lifestyles, which will lead to more women’s streetwear in 2020.
Street Wear Unsung Heroes
here have been plenty of women who have been instrumental in transforming streetwear from a subculture to a massive influence in fashion, but when influencers Aleali May collaborated with Nike earlier this year, she became only the second woman to ever collaborate on a Jordan drop. (This year alone, Jordan Brand has collaborated with several men including Virgil Abloh and Travis Scott.) Clearly, the streetwear world still has a long way to go.
But some are predicting that this year will mark a big change on that front, like the founders of PH5, a womenswear brand that most recently collaborated with streetwear icon Kith.
“Menswear has absolutely dominated the streetwear space up to this point, but 2020 could definitely be the year womenswear shines through,” said Wei Lin, co-founder of PH5. “Beyond just women’s-specific streetwear brands, standard women’s brands are also now incorporating streetwear-typical features into their collections. This year, we saw a lot of overlap between streetwear and office-appropriate suiting, and I think that will just continue to expand.”
Outside of apparel, sneakers are where much of the focus of streetwear is. There’s a tendency among brands when designing sneakers for women to “shrink it and pink it,” or simply make a smaller, pink version of a men’s shoe and market it to women. Otherwise, women are frequently forced to buy smaller-sized men’s shoes, which can frequently run out of stock, or kid’s sizes which can be made of inferior material.
But for a few women in the streetwear world, Nike is the brand that has done the most for women in terms of making shoes that are hip and cool available to them.
“Nike is honestly the one doing the best,” said Steph BrownLow, brand strategist and founder of Carry Corp. “There’s actual thought put into their women’s stuff. In Toronto, there was a Nike Nordstrom pop-up that had a ton of interesting women’s sneakers — the new Air Max 720 has eight colorways for women. There’s actual thought being put into it for women, specifically.”
This opinion was echoed by Lauren Cardenas, gm of the Sneakersnstuff store in NYC’s Meatpacking District, who works with sneakers from all the big brands every day.
“Nike is the closest to getting it right,” she said. “But there’s still a lot of room to grow. They’ve got some great shoes for women, but they also have a lot that only come in pink and purple colorways. But Nike is collaborating with more women, and they’re having the right conversations. They’re definitely leading the way, but they have more to do.”
Women’s streetwear is also being helped along by the continued trend toward gender-neutral clothing, with brands like Gucci and Saint Laurent hosting co-ed fashion shows and creating unisex clothing. For some in the industry, the continued mixing of men’s and women’s fashion is a sign that women’s streetwear will come to the fore next year.
“In streetwear, the divide between men’s and women’s clothing has been a decisive line as streetwear was born out of men’s lifestyle,” said Mijia Zhang, creative director of PH5. “It frequently takes inspiration from functionality, which always plays a huge role in men’s fashion, but not always as much in women’s
Women Streetwear Is On A Upward Trend.Fad Or Future
Fashion is one of the first ways I first learned how to express my gender as a child. Girls wear pink; boys wear blue. Girls wear dresses and skirts and flower prints; boys wear slacks and sweatshirts and stripes. I’m sure many of you had a similar experience growing up. Throughout history, from fairy tales to pop culture, fashion has undoubtedly played a major role in defining and demonstrating our gender roles in society. But times, just like fashion itself, are changing and evolving. Now that I’m all grown up, I’ve noticed that these days, the focus is less on clothing for women versus men, and more on clothing that represents an attitude, a feeling, a look or an overall aesthetic.
Nowhere is this more evident in the world of streetwear, where women are getting an increasing amount of visibility. The sportswear and athletic trend has been rising over the past years, both in high fashion and on the high streets, so it’s just natural for more and more women to be “discovering” streetwear. And it’s no coincidence that dozens of the biggest menswear brands have used female models in their lookbooks over the past few seasons; of course women are wonderful to look at, but it seems that they also represent a growing sector of menswear’s customer base.
For The Street Wear Industry Future Focus Is More On Clothing Representing An Attitude
Throughout history, there has been many an instance of women borrowing from the boys when it comes to fashion. Coco Chanel caused a stirred with her pantsuits for women in the 1920’s period . Diane Keaton’s character in Annie Hall helped popularize everyday menswear styling with her wide-leg trousers, hats and vests in the 70’s. The following decade saw women in power suits, appropriating men’s styles as a means to assert their authority in the business world and break through the glass ceiling in pursuit of increased social and economic capital. In the 21 century everything for men including t-shirts vests and rugged jeans became popular with younger females .
Over the past few years, streetwear has become one of the largest segments of the apparel industry, and while it remains male-dominated, women have always had a presence. Though that presence has had its peaks and valleys (the second wave of the female streetwear consumer is seemingly here. Sociologist Jan Felshin popularized the idea of the feminine apologetic, using the example of how female athletes may compensate for their participation in traditionally masculine sports by emphasizing their femininity. We may consider this when thinking about the brands that were popular among women a decade ago during what Lovatt calls the “mid-naughties streetwear surge”: Married To The Mob, HLZBLZ, Dimepiece, and the like. Without taking anything away from these trailblazing brand, the modern streetwear female is more unapologetic than ever before, and less concerned about wearing clothing “made for girls,” which announces their gender proudly with cuts, colours and graphic messages that reference it Supreme Bitch, Ain’t No Wife explicitly. Today a woman is much more likely to wear a plain t-shirt or pair of joggers because they like the material or the fit, regardless of whether or not the style is specifically unisex.
Streetwear Is Challenging Notions Of Femininity And Masculinity
Some celebrity men bizarrely have been gender bending also. There are areas that are more obvious, such as Hood by Air’s runway shows that feature male and female models who are indistinguishable underneath long wigs and cakey makeup, wearing leather pants, skirts and tunics. But what is even more interesting are the subtle yet ubiquitous nods to the feminine aesthetic that can be found in menswear, things that we simply wouldn’t have seen 20 years ago, such as slimmer cuts in pants, high-low hems, tunic-cut tees, and floral and polka dot prints. There was an occasion when Kanye West wore a Celine blouse to Coachella and Jay Z stepped out in that women’s Rodarte jersey
Fashion is ever changing and evolving, but I think it’s safe to say that the sportswear and athletic “trend” is more than just a passing fad; it’s a real shift in perceptions and norms about what types of things women wear every day. I know I speak for more than just myself when I say that it’s refreshing to see females feeling confident and looking sexy in joggers and sneakers, whether they choose to pair them with a sports bra or an oversize tee. The fact that this is happening in fashion, which has traditionally been one of the most gender-stereotyped cultural pockets, is interesting to say the least. And the fact that streetwear, a movement that germinated in male-dominated subcultures like skate and surf, is challenging notions of masculinity/femininity and inspiring us to associate clothing with an attitude, a look or an overall aesthetic versus a gender, is truly something to marvel at.
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