Earlier this year, designer, culture ‘creator’, and the leading force behind Milan-based label Off-White, Virgil Abloh, almost stopped streetwear enthusiasts in their AJ1 tracks when he declared that “streetwear was dead” in an interview with Dazed Magazine. He believed that consumers would soon shift their attention towards collecting and wearing vintage pieces instead of owning the latest, ‘fresh-off-the-runway’ collections.
Unfortunately, before that could even happen, the global health crisis had spurred many to retreat to their old, sneaker-lovin’ ways. Staying in became the new ‘going out’ in a bid to battle the deadly virus. Holding on to a sense of comfort and familiarity amidst adjusting to this new ‘normal’ became the key to survival.
Logo T-shirts, hoodies and baseball caps from cult streetwear labels remain ‘priority’ pieces because they are incredibly comfortable and can easily be worn at home or for a quick trip to the drugstore. Even face masks, which were once a piece of ‘armour’ worn almost exclusively by reclusive celebrities, are now a mandatory ‘accessory’ for the average Joe. Times have definitely changed.
In short, streetwear is here to stay and is showing no signs of wavering. And with consumers spending more time indoors connecting with their interests and community through their digital devices, a new crop of streetwear labels have been building up their collections online and are attracting the attention of streetwear enthusiasts who are on the hunt for the Next Big Thing.
Who are these newcomers, and do they hold a Byredo candle to heavyweights such as Supreme, Stüssy and Undercover, who have dominated the industry for over two decades? Read on as we round up five rising streetwear labels to check out now.
This luxury streetwear brand is made for tie-dye-loving girls who aren’t afraid to have a little fun (read: ‘It’ girl Dua Lipa). Creative Director of Aries Arise, Sofia Prantera, is a graduate of world-renowned arts and design college Central St Martins and was particularly fascinated by hand dyeing, printing, and hand-finished garment construction. She founded Aries Arise in 2011 with graphic designer Fergus Purcell and the label’s effortlessly cool pieces have been worn by Jake Gyllenhaal (in a British Vogue editorial spread, nothing less), model Irene Kim and Victoria’s Secret Angel Elsa Hosk.
Aside from the standard repertoire of streetwear separates, Aries Arise also offers a small range of bold, noteworthy designs, such as a fuchsia backless leather jacket and an ombré-dyed windbreaker jacket complete with matching pants.
South Korean label Lucky Charms seems very new to the game, having officially ‘debuted’ their collection on Instagram and online-only in December 2019. Fast track to almost five months later, the label has slowly been gaining traction after their pieces were worn by some of Korea’s most recognisable celebrities, including Henry Lau, a former member of K-pop group Super Junior-M, and rising actress Kim Yong-Ji, who recently stars in the new Korean drama The King: Eternal Monarch.
At this juncture, the label’s style of designs seems pretty straightforward, with their logo incorporated across their tees, caps and hoodies. Paint splatter-inspired details appear to have become a signature look of theirs too, which are spotted across their button-down shirts and hoodies. Two stand-out pieces from their collection include the What The Luck white cotton tee, (a wordplay on the angry expression) and the fun, black cropped sweater with the label’s name Lucky Charms designed in rainbow lettering.
As a label that counts millennial superstar Jaden Smith as one of its investors, Pangaia is founded by a global collective of scientists, technologists and designers whose priorities lie in creating innovative tech and bio-engineered products to save the environment. Their range features wardrobe essentials such as hoodies, track pants and sweatshirts, and are made from ethically responsible materials including organic cotton, natural dyes and recycled fibres.
In terms of design, the label subscribes to a straightforward, minimalistic style — a few lines stating the eco-conscious features of the item adorn the front while the brand’s logo is shown at the back. Pieces are offered in an array of solid colours ranging from sakura pink to blue, with new colours being released in phases and in limited quantities. 'Simple and socially responsible' seem to be their modus operandi.
Pras the Bandit
Where are our bold, rebellious women at? Singapore-based streetwear label Pras the Bandit invites its wearers to play by their own rules without losing sight of their contemporary urban aesthetic. Founded in 2012 by Ivan Timothy Prasetya, who possesses a strong background in graphic design (and a ballsy attitude in poking fun at political leaders with his cheeky illustrations), the label boasts a range of apparel and accessories which feature the occasional cultural reference.
We’re fans of the label's selection of double take-worthy tees, which are incredibly wearable and would go well with a worn-in denim jacket or on their own with a pair of tiny denim shorts. Did we also mention that Ivan has worked with some of the biggest names in the business too, including Converse, G-Shock and Timberland?
Sporty & Rich
If you’ve been wanting to dabble in streetwear dressing but aren’t ready to embrace the seemingly tougher-looking punk and underground aesthetic many labels tend to subscribe to, Sporty & Rich is a good place to start. With its ethos being ‘Be nice, drink water, be good to the planet, take care of yourself and live a life of pleasure’, the American luxury streetwear brand offers cosy ‘athleisure’ pieces, all while placing inclusivity and sustainability as core aspects of its business.
The brand’s products are fair-trade, locally made in the United States and are environmentally friendly. Plus, it boasts decent streetwear ‘cred’ too with its founder Emily Oberg being a former Creative Lead of Kith’s women’s team. Stay tuned for their next collection, which launches online on 5 June.
Which streetwear label is on your radar at the moment?
(Cover photo from: @ariesarise)
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