Streetwear’s top creatives suit up for the mass market mainstream
Future. Mass market clothing brands like J.Crew and Gap are hiring creatives from the world of streetwear in order to make their offerings relevant to a new generation. Streetwear has always been about making a custom, luxury aesthetic accessible to customers (even though their prices never reflected that), so the new partnerships may be a win-win for all involved… if great clothes are made at affordable prices.
Capitalize on cool
Is streetwear becoming mainstream, or is the mainstream co-opting streetwear? Here’s why the two are coming together:
- Long-term talent takeover. J. Crew hired Noah’s Brendan Babenzien, adidas picked up Fear of God’s Jerry Lorenzo, and Reebok locked up Kerby Jean-Raymon of Pyer Moss… just to name a few.
- Bank on creative celebrity. Gap signed a 10-year deal with Kanye West’s YEEZY brand, which it hopes will reach $1 billion in annual sales (compared to Gap’s overall $4.6 billion.
- America follows Europe’s lead. The same trends already went down in Europe with Balenciaga, Gucci, Louis Vuiiton all hiring streetwear icons.
Distilling why mass-market brand are pushing in the chips on streetwear designers, J. Crew Group CEO Libby Wadle said of Babenzien’s hiring: “[Brendon’s] unique point of view, willingness to take risks and insider status will be invaluable to J.Crew’s commitment to step outside ourselves and disrupt our brand and the industry in a progressive way.”
If that thinking takes root in the public consciousness, the new purveyors of cool could be such mall-staples as Gap and Reebok. Who would’ve thought?