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What is Silent Streetwear?

Sanj Patel

Silent streetwear is all about minimal designs & clean cuts with a wide range of washes & technical fabrics to create a subtle streetwear look.

So what is silent streetwear? Silent streetwear has never really been that silent. Scandinavian labels including Norse Projects, Our Legacy & Acne Studios have acted as the founding fathers of the aesthetic, often utilising a range of different fabrics, from corduroy to linen and cotton to create clean cut silhouettes, perfectly fitting tailored trousers, Oxford shirts, technical outerwear and knitwear. Like a global pandemic, the influence of the silent streetwear market has dictated the direction of the industry to what we see today.

“The decline of ‘loud’ designs, logos, and colours means that the familiar menswear language, like the mantra ‘god is in the details’, is making a return,” says Nick Paget, senior menswear editor at trend forecaster WGSN. “Fabrics and washes will become more important, as will trims and clever features relevant to a consumer’s lifestyle. Hand-craft and considered details will be key once again. The patina of age, too, will become more attractive.” Maybe the new generation of neon clad streetwear fans won’t remember around 5 years ago when Scandinavian streetwear was all the rage. The fact is silent streetwear never really went anywhere.

SIlent Streetwear Norse

Above: Scandinavian brands like Norse Projects have pioneered the silent streetwear aesthetic.



What Virgil Abloh says doesn’t necessarily dictate the market. The shift in the industry has marked the failed and prophesied death of the streetwear scene. Noted by Louis Vuitton’s creative director, Virgil Abloh, the thirty-nine-year-old claimed that the industry that he helped create was essentially, on its knees. With a back-long of names under his belt, including Dior, it’s fair to say that the founder of Off-White couldn’t be more wrong. What we’ve seen is a shift in both the industry and a global, lucrative market.

Sadly, the fashion industry is arguably the biggest area to global pollution. In the UK, only around a third of the 650,000 tonnes of discarded clothes given to charity or other circular fashion initiatives are resold, with the rest being sent off to textile recycling plants. Ditching the bold prints and daring logos might see the change from the harsh reality that results in the $500 billion of spending that is lost every year through under-wearing and a failure to recycle clothes. On the other hand, the demand for timeless and sustainable pieces has provided the industry with hope that a new wave of design will offer in a change that is yet to come.

Above: Scandinavian brands like Our Legacy have pioneered the silent streetwear aesthetic.



Does High-end fashion and streetwear really work? It wasn’t that long ago that silent streetwear had been surpassed by another phase of the streetwear industry, the collaboration of streetwear and high-end fashion. It’s not hard to name some of the most killer collaborations that have gone on over the years, Palace x Ralph Lauren, Supreme x Louis Vuitton. These collections have become rare hypebeast driven, holy-grail-type pieces, reselling at almost triple the price of leading resale sites like Stock X. Ultimately, these collections have been driven by meticulous and well thought out marketing. Arguably, these pieces do work but for a market that is driven by labels. Anyone can go and get themselves a cigarette lighter, but it takes a special person to be logging online with card details to hand for a lighter that will sell out in minutes.

Above: Scandinavian brands like Acne Studios have pioneered the silent streetwear aesthetic.



Streetwear has never been as commercial as it is today (everyone wears it). The streetwear industry has also never been so accessible. Due to its versatility, nearly everything from an oversized jumper to a pair of corduroy trousers can be dubbed as streetwear. But just like any types of trend, different styles will always come and go. The new norm might well be a shift back to clean and minimal styles as oppose to bright neon hues, bulky trainers and oversized 90s inspired logos we have seen in the last few years.


1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Kat May 28, 2020

    I never heard of silent streetwear up until today. This is an informative read! Maybe I’d invest new clothes from this.


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