B-Store's Verawat Chinpilas Dissects Streetwear And Its Deadline In Fashion
As you may have caught a glimpse of what we think about streetwear from a past article, in 2020 we now ponder the future of the trend that took over the fashion world like a bushfire. Is luxury finally becoming luxurious again? We decided to pick the brains of a fashionista who'd know best about this particular topic. Co-founder and buying director of the multi-brand B-Store, Verawat Chinpilas defines streetwear and street style for us and offers industry insights in explanation of the trend's expiry in high fashion.
What exactly is streetwear?
Fundamentally speaking, 'streetwear' originated in Los Angeles. It is something people wear in their everyday lives. Brands like Stussy and Supreme put cool twists to them that made them popular amongst skaters. Before the style became a full-blown global trend, it was just another lifestyle, just something a particular group of people wore in their daily lives. Stussy I think was the originator for the style, and if you looked at the price tag, it was actually affordable for young people.
'Street style' is different from streetwear in that it is the fashion observed in the streets of a particular city or area. New York, for instance, has a very unique street style that is distinct from the street style observed in London or Bangkok. I like to think of it as the subject of American photographer Bill Cunningham's work. He goes around snapping photos of people in places in their attire.
Besides Stussy and Supreme, what are some other prominent names in streetwear?
Virgil Abloh is a big one. Kim Jones also incorporated streetwear into his collections for Dior. In terms of super-luxury brands, Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton are quite prominent in bringing in the style into their brands. Ambush is another brand most people know for their street aesthetics from their collaboration with Dior. But at heart, Ambush is very refined and contemporary. You can see more tailoring in their later collections.
How did streetwear become so big, to the point of becoming high fashion?
I think it originates from photographers capturing photos of people in the city. A style starts to capture people's attention, and it becomes a trend. It becomes so big of a hit, that bigger brands had to join in. Frankly, I think the trend, like all trends, will die. However, I feel that the original brands that made the style of clothing will not die. People who lived the culture associated with the style will still rock their garb regardless of whether it's trending in high fashion. People who buy something because it’s Balenciaga or Off-White, on the other hand, don't have the cultural identity to support the style in the long run.
What is the current situation for streetwear?
It’s been on the decline for two seasons now. We are currently in Spring 2020, and it’s already almost gone. Streetwear has been a huge trend for the past three to four years now, and the demographic is probably more mature now. Also, brands know that it’s not sustainable and that it's time to return to the essentials.
What then is sustainable for these brands?
It’s hard to pinpoint what is sustainable for all the brands, as it would be different. Generally speaking, haute couture is only affordable to the rich, and it is desired for its finesse and craftsmanship. The identity of these types of brands is something classic and timeless. Of course, fashion changes and maisons have to adapt, but they cannot go off from their original identities too much. Even with the streetwear trend, each house has to have its own interpretation of 'streetwear' that makes sense with its DNA.
What should we expect to see in fashion in the near future?
I came back from Paris months before the outbreak. I was there to see the autumn/winter 2020 trends. Spring 2020 right now is playing with a lot of pastel colours, like baby blue, pink, light grey and lavender. Next season, we will still see these colours. Tailoring will be back for men. We'll be seeing more suit and trousers, moving away from loose and casual styles. In terms of silhouette, menswear will be slimmer, as in departing from oversized. Overall autumn/winter 2020 will be more mature and refined.
Is your business going to be affected by the decline of streetwear?
One good thing about multi-brand stores is that our customers trust our selections. We know what our buyers want and will cater to the changing trends. At the same time, we also curate contemporary luxury labels that thrive on not following trends.
Do you think it is possible for streetwear to come back into high fashion?
I think it will be hard for it to come back to its peak in high fashion but, as I mentioned, there are street brands that are timelessly cool and won't die away easily. At its essence, streetwear is rebellious and satirical. It mocks big brands, and there will always be an appeal to that.
See also: 5 Society Fashionistas Who Break The Dress Code