if you’re a newcomer to streetwear and would like to get to know all about its aesthetic, or you just want to expand your knowledge about this culture, this is the right thing for you!
Streetwear culture can be difficult to understand for novices due to many reasons. One of those reasons would definitely be the variety of segments it includes; from sneakers to art, music, skateboarding, basketball and as you would expect fashion… As mentioned, we would like to help you overcome this rather “overwhelming” mix of cultures and mentalities in order to have a better understanding of streetwear. So the Chicken streetwear put together this list of 10 interesting books (in no particular order) that deal with disparate topics regarding streetwear culture.
“The Hundreds” is one of the few companies that managed to stay at the top as streetwear went mainstream. And Bobby Hundreds (Bobby Kim) is the reason why, he has emerged as an eminent figure in the streetwear world. In telling the story of his foundational years, he tells us that his company: The Hundreds was started by outsiders; which truly illustrates the story of streetwear culture.
In his book, Bobby Hundreds emphasizes on the fact that he’s an icon in an industry he helped create (and he’s not wrong at all!) and tells us all about “The Hundreds”—with stories ranging from his Southern California beginnings to the brand’s explosive success. Both an inspirational narrative and an expert judgement of the history and evolution of streetwear, this is the story of Bobby’s commitment to his creative vision and to building a real streetwear community.
With more visual than text, this book tells the story of one of the most famous streetwear brands. It would be a real mistake to oversee James Jebbia’s Supreme’s contribution to the foundation of this culture that is streetwear. The label with the simple logo, proved itself in the skateboard world before going even bigger in the streetwear world to becoming an iconic brand as of today. With its remarkable collections and prints, its collaborations with the biggest names, Supreme has gone beyond being a clothing brand.
AMETORA: HOW JAPAN SAVED AMERICAN STYLE
When you pay close attention to American fashion you’ll notice that is highly inspired by Japanese one. From his roots in Tokyo, W. David Marx reveals why this took place, starting from Japan's obsession with American style after WWII. He traces back the Japanese assimilation of American fashion over the past hundred and fifty years, showing how Japanese designers and entrepreneurs copied, imported, and ultimately perfected American style, to the point where the former became the source of inspiration for the latter.
When we mention streetwear, one of the first things that comes to our minds is “sneakers”. And when we say sneakers, we can’t not think of “Nike”. With the return of the Nike SB as one the biggest sneaker trends in 2020, we get reminded of how massive it was in the 2000s as the epicenter of sneaker culture. The Dunk Book provides a visual history of one of the most important shoes ever made.
Nike gets itself another spot on our list, which only proves how giant of a streetwear brand it is, not only because of its creativity in athletics, but because of its amazing storytelling. This genius goes all the way back to Nike’s co-founder founder Phil Knight, with his memoir “Shoe Dog” that chronicles the history of Nike from its early struggling beginnings to becoming one of the world's most recognized and rich streetwear companies. In this book, Knight also sheds light on some parts of his life that were crucial for the foundation of Nike.
DEAD STYLE: A LONG STRANGE TRIP INTO THE MAGICAL WORLD OF TIE-DYE
Since the formation of Dead & Company, a new breed of Deadhead has emerged: people who value aesthetic streetwear as much as tie-dye. Mordechai Rubinstein’s “Dead Style” demonstrates the impact of the Grateful Dead (a rock band) and hippie culture on today’s fashion. Tie-dyed pieces from multiple massive brands like Louis Vuitton, Off-White, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Missoni, and Burberry took over runway looks. This book, rich in visuals and captions, is an engaging and fun work that illustrates the current Deadhead culture.
DAPPER DAN: MADE IN HARLEM
Dapper Dan is an icon, an inspiration to all of us. His book is actually not just about fashion; it’s about hustle, love, curiosity, and determination to live our dreams. With his famous store on 125th Street in Harlem, Dapper Dan established exclusive streetwear back in the 1980s, implementing luxury-brand logos into his own charming designs. But before he became successful, he was an unfortunate teenager: he had no money, so he had to gamble drug dealers to get some. And with the help of books and his big ambition, he managed to become the Dapper Dan we all know today. In this remarkable memoir, he tells the full story of his struggles, hustle and success.
THIS IS NOT FASHION: STREETWEAR PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
As its title clearly suggests, this book narrates the history and evolution of streetwear (there’s also a post about that in our blog). The story begins in the 1970s when the first ever streetwear shop came into existence in Jersey City: “Trash and Vaudeville”; and as you can guess, it then moves to talk about how streetwear developed into one of the biggest fashion styles in the world (and there’s more to come).
HIROSHI FUJIWARA: FRAGMENT
In 1972, in Jersey City-as mentioned earlier-the first ever streetwear shop was born: “Trash and Vaudeville”
. Starting with that crucial date, the story then moves on to one of the most important elements that contributed to what we know now as streetwear
: the start of punk. From only being a casual clothing style
inspired by British football culture, to the skating lifestyle in California, the authors show how streetwear
has spread through variant cultures all over the globe.
OUT OF THE BOX: THE RISE OF SNEAKER CULTURE
Elizabeth Semmelhack is as many of us, a sneaker lover, but she took it up a notch; she actually was a sneaker historian. With her book “Out of the Box”, she takes sneakers from different collections around the world and lays out all the information you need to know about them, bringing in key figures in the sneaker industry, with the likes of: Tinker Hatfield, Bobbito Garcia, and Run DMC's Darryl McDaniels.