What makes streetwear so cool? Originating from the American surf, skate and hip-hop cultures of the 80's and 90's, perhaps it's because this style carries a certain energy. Oversized t-shirts and tracksuits allow you to move freely, jump, dance, run or bike without any problems. It's casual, fresh, young and dynamic. This enthusiasm is visible in the streetwear community, both offline (queuing in front of physical shops) and online (crazy online drops like at Supreme). The vigor of the streetwear community is contagious.
Historically, streetwear has an anarchistic attitude, which stems from a rebellion against high fashion. Unlike designer brands, streetwear seems effortless and comfortable. The most successful brands know that they have to reach everyone. So they appeal to the masses by keeping a close eye on trends and seeing how people interpret them, then do the same. These days, certain brand logos on basic t-shirts or the latest sneakers are at the top of the shopping list, and for some, they are just as sought after as a designer handbag.
The community starts online. Many of the top streetwear brands have huge success and phenomenal engagement stats on the networks. Social media goes hand in hand with streetwear. Some fans check in outfits every day only to see prices drop later. This means they have to have a look at a reasonable price. Just look at Reddit's Streetwear Startup forum where emerging fashion designers post photos and welcome all sorts of user feedback.
It's a great place to spot new talent and keep an eye out for new trends. Thanks to the Internet, fans are invited to interact with designers, bridging the gap between the brand and the consumer. They now feel they have a real impact on building a brand. The Basement is another online group (with 75,000 members on Facebook and 276,000 followers on Instagram) where people from all walks of life can engage with streetwear culture from home, whether it's clothing, music, or even political and social issues.
The approach and accessibility of these virtual forums is a far cry from limited designer stores and closed vendors. These online communities also give people the opportunity to make money by encouraging the resale market. Depop is a cross between eBay and Instagram where people can easily sell their products. By inviting small businesses to start up and allowing people to make money from their rooms, brands are showing that they are willing to give back. Because of this, streetwear still stays true to its roots - the DIY philosophy - and fans love it.
It's not all happening on social media, as this commitment is also reflected offline. Streetwear brands prove their commitment to their followers by hosting meetups, sponsoring sporting events or investing in venues. All of this allows members to meet in real life, bring in friends and grow the community even more. In 2014, VANS opened House of VANS under the arches in Waterloo and this year Supreme donated £50,000 to the restoration of London's Southbank Skate Park, as they knew how important this place was to their teenage fan club.
However, even though streetwear was once the gritty underbelly of fashion, high-end brands are now producing their own expensive version to reach a new audience. We're talking mostly about teenagers with disposable income who are willing to save their pocket money and spend weekend mornings lining up for the latest releases. This brand hunger is the gold dust of retailers and a number of big names in the luxury industry, from Balenciaga to Gucci. But can they really emulate the success of streetwear and make it look authentic?
It's not just how streetwear fans talk about it, but the tone of the brand will unequivocally cut through all the hype, fake or marketing, making it human and easy to relate to. Palace, for example, writes like they don't care about sales: "Your mom looks like Coldplay's" is one of their tweets to their 99k followers. This approach works because it makes people laugh and allows them to read the tweet like a real voice you hear on the street. Cold, calculated copy from expensive brands doesn't compare.
When it comes to streetwear, it's not about cutting-edge design (a few letters on a white t-shirt is hardly revolutionary) and not about what the logo means: a close community. High-end brands can try to copy the style, but you won't see the crowd staying as long. The essence of streetwear is to belong to a tribe where fans associate images with peers. As long as streetwear brands continue to treat their customers like real people and engage with them in an authentic way both online and offline, they will remain undefeatable.
That's where our idea of building such a tight-knit community came from. This is through Instagram ( @revengexstore ) where we are already over 52,000 or even with our Ambassador program. Today we have a huge community of over 8,000 ambassadors. Let's bring the brand to life together on the Internet and soon in real life!