It was recently revealed that the streetwear and sneaker resale platform StockX was valued at $1 Billion, a marketplace which was specifically set up for streetwear enthusiasts, hypebeasts and collectors to buy and sell ‘authenticated’ drops from Yeezy sneakers to Supreme Box Logo tees. If one streetwear resale platform alone is worth this much it begs the questions, what is the streetwear industry as a whole worth? Reports going back to 2017 claim the streetwear industry was worth $300 billion, but with the continued rise of the industry and the value of the streetwear resale market alone, it could now easily be worth as much as $500 billion, if not higher!
What was once an underground scene that originated in the 80s and 90s on the streets of Los Angeles and New York has now become a multi billion dollar industry with traditional fashion brands looking to muscle in on the ever growing scene. But like anything authenticity is key, OG 90s streetwear brands like BAPE, Stussy and Supreme are still considered the top dogs when its comes to the streetwear scene’s elite. It seems everyone wants a piece of the streetwear pie at the moment but only a select few really know the key ingredients to get the sweet taste that the streetwear industry can really offer. Brand heritage, authenticity, exclusivity, design and quality are the main factors when streetwear consumers are weighing up their latest purchases with so many new streetwear brands on the scene trying to replicate the formula, it just simply can’t work for everyone.
So what does the future hold for streetwear over the next 5 years? Well the age old saying “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” has a lot of truth when it comes to the streetwear industry. Supreme and Palace for example have not changed their methods at all really over the last 5 years with regards to drops and releases and this method still seems to be the driving force for the scene itself. They may have collaborated with different people, and targeted a more premium customer with Ralph Lauren (Palace) and Louis Vuitton (Supreme), however their methods of retail have remained the same. So many other brands have tried the exclusive drop route only to find themselves with no queues outside their stores and sometimes selling the ‘exclusive’ product at sale price. You really need to have the following and respect these brands boast to pull it off which they do ever so well. So over the next 5 years expect even more exclusive drops, high resale values and release day queues.
With the rise of luxury fashion and streetwear over the last few years, the question is how long can we expect this to last? We will see more luxury brands teaming up with traditional streetwear brands but this current trend won’t last forever. New fashion trends come and go with streetwear currently only being one part of this relatively new designer streetwear trend. The truth is streetwear’s roots is in hip hop and street culture, not high end fashion. The connection has allowed streetwear to gain a new global audience but we can’t see it lasting forever.
When we talk about streetwear we also need to talk about sneakers. The sneaker industry whether that be general retail releases, hyped drops, raffles and resales of sought after styles will continue to rise over the next 5 years. Sneaker heads and collectors see trainers as investments with styles like the Air Max 1 for example going back to 1987, as sought after now as it ever was, an example of how OG styles are just as collectable as the new ones. With more hyped trainer drops now available on the resale market than ever before, this current trainer trend doesn’t look like slowing down at any time soon.
What’s great about streetwear its ability to adjust to current affairs such as politics. With global unrest now becoming a big issue in all the major cities of the world we expect to see streetwear to pay a major role in the uniform of these protesters. The latest street protests in Hong Kong have seen masks and t-shirts a symbol of their movements, with other street led movements adopting similar looks. We expect streetwear will continue to be a uniform and platform for these political movements over the next 5 years.
What about the impact of streetwear influencers in the future? Well it’s hard to say really. Influencers have clearly played a vital role in the growth of the streetwear scene over the last few years with the lines between celebrity and influencer merging closer than ever before. In a recent report from the University of Baltimore influencers with fake Instagram followers and likes are costing companies a staggering $1.3 billion of lost advertising revenue. However there are real influencers out there with real followers and real engagement who are still making a killing that streetwear brands still want to collaborate with. With more and more influencers now on the streetwear scene the key really here is does the brand really need an Instagram influencer to promote their brand and what do they expect to gain from it. The majority of influencers are paid via ‘gifting’, ie free product, although this can still be costly for a brand, the real winners are still the brands as they are gifting a pair of trainers at their own cost price, not retail or exaggerated resale values. We can’t see ‘gifting for Instagram posts going anywhere anytime soon.
In conclusion streetwear as a scene has grown to be a lot stronger than just a look in recent years to become an industry in itself. Its become a symbol of youth culture, youth values and a subculture in itself for many millennial’s. If streetwear continues to dictate how the industry should work then we can expect some pretty cool things from the scene in the future. Watch this space!
Image Credits: Basement Approved, Highsnobiety & Washington Post.