Luxury x Streetwear - How Streetwear is taking over The Luxury Market
The Luxury Market is changing. Major fashion houses like Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga and Gucci are embracing the change in consumer spending habits and striving to attract a younger demographic of customers, more specifically millennials. Within the past few years, luxury brands have been adopting streetwear trends into their collections to create a more urban, youthful vibe. As well as brands incorporating a sportier aesthetic into their ranges, there has been an increasing number of collaborations between luxury brands and streetwear brands which have generated millions of pounds and proven to be extremely popular among Generation Z consumers.
So where has this new trend come from? The explosion of Streetwear, mainly driven by the rise of the Grime/Hip-Hop music scene, reflects a change in western culture. Millennials want to be a part of the movement to an edgier, trend-driven lifestyle, similar to what is seen on the streets and in music videos. As a result, consumers are branching away from mainstream brands and looking towards alternatives…streetwear. With increasingly more millennials pouring their money into upcoming streetwear brands, luxury brands also wanted to profit from this surge in consumption. According to Business of Fashion, by 2025, it is estimated that 45% of spending on luxury goods will come from Generation Z, showing how major fashion houses need to adapt to younger preferences in order to capitalise on this spending.
Already we have seen major players in the luxury market making the change of conservative goods to a more youthful aesthetic. One of the most famous and profitable examples of this is Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with the skateboarding brand, Supreme. The collection was launched in 2017 and had the Supreme logo plastered on Louis Vuitton luggage, wallets, clothing and even iPhone cases. The prices also did not deter young shoppers who willingly parted with $935 for a hoodie which shows there is clearly a big desire for these streetwear collaborations, so much so that resale prices of these hoodies can be as extortionate as $9000!
Take a look at the video below from The Unknown Vlogs to get an idea of just how huge the demand was at the pop-up launch in London last year.
Another key collaboration is with Tommy Hilfiger and luxe streetwear brand Vetements, who is mainly known for their quirky, slightly “out-there” designs. The collab saw a range of unisex items such as oversized hoodies, t-shirts and accessories bearing the Vetements and Hilfiger logos. It was an incredibly useful collaboration to Hilfiger who benefited from the cool aesthetic that a streetwear brand such as Vetements brings. Even Hilfiger himself believes this to be true as in an interview with WWD he said, “We agreed to it because we think it’s such a cool brand and think it will be an incredible collaboration.” Similarly to the Supreme and Louis Vuitton collab, the prices were not for the faint-hearted. An oversized hoodie would set you back £1,119 and a pair of socks £102!
Other ventures that luxury brands have undertaken to attract the millennial market is Burberry’s collaboration with Gosha Rubchinskiy. This was a very interesting collaboration and caused somewhat of a stir in the fashion world. Burberry was previously trying to shake off the “chav” image that began to get associated with the Burberry check in the early 2000’s, yet now they have created a range with a big streetwear brand. This shows the importance of streetwear in today’s market and how it is necessary for luxury brands to keep up with major changes in trends.
As well as Burberry, Gucci and Balenciaga have broken the traditional, luxury mould and experimented with streetwear. Gucci has very recently collaborated with Spanish graffiti artist Ignasi Monreal and created a graffiti-inspired streetwear collection of 9 t-shirts and sweater for SS/18. This is not the first time Gucci has used graffiti to attract a new, millennial market. In AW/16 partnered with graffiti artist Trevor Andrew to add some edgy Gucci prints onto traditional Gucci bags.
Balenciaga traditionally was positioned in line with the likes of Chanel and Dior but is now beginning to dominate the luxe streetwear market. The iconic Balenciaga sneakers are appearing all over the social media feeds of trend-driven millennials and celebrities such as A$AP Rocky and Migos. They have also begun investing more into their online presence in order to maximise their online brand appeal, which is no surprise considering there has been a 17% growth in the online market for high fashion in 2017! It seems that in order for luxury brands to succeed, they need to expand into the ever-growing streetwear trend and connect with their tech-savvy market through non-traditional methods.
So the final question is, why has this trend become so popular? Unlike most trends that seem to fade away after a few months, it seems like the “Luxury Streetwear” trend is here to stay. It has been around for multiple years already and high fashion brands seem to be investing further into edgier ranges. The movement reflects the everlasting desire for innovation and the change in the target market. Generation Z is currently driving luxury retail sales and is constantly on the lookout for something new to show off on their Instagram account. This is the main reason why this trend is set to stay. Luxury brands are profiting from millennials spending habits and continuously finding new ways to appeal to their preferences. So who knows what collaboration we’ll see next! Keep an eye out, I’m sure it’s going to be spectacular!