The UK has given birth to a wide range of subcultures over the last 40 years from the the Casuals of the 1980s to the Garage scene of the late 90s to the late 2010s Roadman style. Each scene introduced its own look, be it expensive Italian sportswear, full check Nova shirts or black tracksuits, the UK is certainly very unique when it comes to its own streetwear scene. The UK’s homegrown streetwear style has been born out of rave culture, nightclubs, housing estates, the terraces & the streets of the major UK cities from Leeds to London. We take a look at 5 UK streetwear brands that should be on your radar.
Shop // Fred Perry
When looking around the streetwear scene in the UK today, it is easy to see how the previous decades of subcultures infuse their designs. Today, the Fred Perry logo is one of the most iconic symbols in British fashion, known for successfully blending sportswear & subcultures. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the British brand is its rich history in UK subcultures. Welcomed by both Mods and Skinheads, the Mod subculture loved the stylish, top-button design of the traditional Fred Perry polos, as well as the clothing’s durability.
Fast forward to the 80s and Manchester’s Perry Boys even named their unique North West style after the British brand to show their love of the brand. 90s Brit Pop emerged from the heart of the British indie music scene during the 1990s, and this new generation immediately took to the casual appeal of Fred Perry clothing. Moving into the late 90s and early noughties Fred Perry was also a key look on the UK’s streetwear scene, usually teamed up with adidas sportswear & Nike Air Max trainers. Fred’s more recent collaboration with Blondey McCoy’s Thames London in 2018 merged heritage tennis apparel with modern skateboarding and streetwear styles.
Shop // Maharishi
Environmentally sound, fair-trade produced, long-lasting, high-quality, the list for London based brand Maharishi is endless. Founded by Hardy Blechman, the UK based, menswear label has pioneered suitable fashion since its beginning in 1994. Each garment is made with strong natural fibre hemp as well as organic cottons which provides the foundations to their up-cycled military-inspired pieces. Think sandy hues and khaki shades. Look out for form-fitting cuts alongside relaxed shapes embellished with beautifully subtle detailing in this collection of clothing for men. Maharishi is a brand that should be on the radar for those that want to both stand out from the crowd and brag about their sustainable streetwear pieces.
Shop // MKI MIYUKI ZOKU
Founded in Leeds in 2010, by creative director Vik Tailor, MKI MIYUKI ZOKU has very much dominated the Northern streetwear scene. Since their opening MKI have grown quickly in the UK, with their quality designer garments and accessible price point attracting a large Northern based market. Followers of the silent streetwear trend, MKI delivers clean and simple ready-to-wear pieces which have thrived within the past decade. A scroll through the labels website will show you a diverse range of both garments and colours, pastels dominate the warmer seasons however oversized sweatshirts and athlesuire come as key capsule pieces. MKI have developed a strong organic growth in the last 5 years, both on and off line. Most noticeably, the brand is stocked in Selfridges, End. Clothing and Harvey Nichols.
Shop // Burberry
Steeped in British heritage with a signature trench coat silhouette that dates back to the 1800s, Burberry represents quintessential British style. Up there with the likes of Gucci and Versace, it has become one of the industry’s best-recognised luxury fashion houses. The Burberry Nova check has become a globally recognised print that is synonymous with the London based brand. In the 1950s, Burberry’s trench coats made their way onto the silver screen and were worn by the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Marlene Deitrich and Humphrey Bogart. The check is what made the coats so identifiable, and it’s a design feature that remains relevant in modern-day luxury streetwear.
Burberry’s subculture & street connection to the UK is absolutely huge. The casuals were the first subculture to wear Burberry scarves and macs on the terraces. The Gallagher brothers followed the casual trend in the 1990s at the pinnacle of the Britpop era which was closely followed by the London Garage scene in the late 90s. Mike Skinner from The Streets can be seen wearing the classic tartan shirt in the video for ‘Push Things Forward’, a testament to the brands’ urban music connection in the UK throughout the early noughties. In more recent years the brand has seen a global revival thanks to more streetwear focused collaborations with Gosha Rubchinskiy in 2018, with Burberry once again flying the flag for luxury streetwear.
Shop // Hikerdelic
Created by Mark Smith and Neil Summers of Proper Magazine, Manchester-based-brand Hikerdelic blurs the lines between an outdoor lifestyle and ready-to-wear, street apparel. Their tag line “From the peaks to the precincts” perfectly sums of up the location of their origins, with a stark contrast of contemporary city life and rugged outdoors so close to the Greater Manchester region. Their latest collection for SS20 collection features various long and short sleeved t-shirts adored with their acid house inspired graphics. With its inspiration from raves culture to the great outdoors of the Peak District, expect to find an array of colours within the brands latest drop and various designs. Since its curation, Hikerdelic has evolved its look and feel to a broader range of collaboration products teaming up with the likes of Barbour, Kickers & Novesta to name a few.