Fashion has been channelling Streetwear for a while.
All around us, all we seem to see is HypeBeast repping Box Logo tees. Walking into Urban Outfitters, you’d be mistaken for thinking that perhaps JD sports had received a bit of a makeover. But while trends move with the times, and the entrance of Grime music and the culture associated with it into the mainstream, this also comes with its fair share of problems.
Rich white kids are spending hundreds, (if not thousands) of pounds to emanate the ‘working class look’. While being a chav would have been considered an insult in my primary schooldays, girls with public school accents are making it look chic. But where do we draw the line? Fashion is about making a statement, and with that comes some sort of political territory. Using your brand to promote, or more drastically condemn something is not new, and the recent craze that came with fashion week brought up all the discussions that come with the patch, most notably in my opinion was the show Henry Holland brought to the TopShop Showspace: Original Pirate Material. That’s right, he took it to The Streets.
Creativity comes from collaboration and those of us who have been around the bush a few times in the arts know there’s no such thing as an original idea, nor should there be. But instead of claiming an idea for his own, HH instead used the music and the mantra to pay homage to the spirit of what was , at the time, a whole new creative direction, something which he himself is known for doing in his field.
Although The Streets were (and continue to be) popular, they were also pioneers of a movement. One that paired dirty garage with urban poetry, the nitty gritty truths that saw Mike Skinner lay down words such as “this is the day in the life of a geezer” on Original Pirate Material and was never necessarily meant for the mainstream. Using the mantra printed on a big oversized Hoodie, and blaring some of the biggest tracks from one of the best albums in history, the designer tastefully paid respects to what’s current in fashion, but paired it with his signature bright colours and a recurring wavy line print that saw itself on everything from dresses, to jackets to event the catwalk. This I can’t help but feel was slightly influenced by the Instagram makeup trend taking over eyebrows, but as a whole I was willing to accept the designs.
While everything thrown together could feel like we’d gone back to 2002, it felt current. Not just the ‘wavy garms’ but the creation of the whole show brought together so many cultural points of today. The resurgence of garage was well under way before Craig David made the biggest comeback of the decade, and though the 2017 election may feel like old news (even though it happened only a few months ago) it did its part to bring music genres such as grime to the fore, paving the way, or rather breaking down the barricades that previously stopped young people from speaking up.
In his own way, I think HH was making a nod to how fair we’ve come since then, and how far we’ve still got to go, without pretending he kickstarted the whole thing. It was a fitting ode to where we’re at.
Words by Ella Guthrie