Has high fash­ion killed streetwear?

ELLE Man (Canada) - - STYLE - By JJ Lee

There are males of a cer­tain age bracket who find that ball caps, graphic T-shirts, hood­ies and hot sneak­ers are as es­sen­tial to their sense of style as nu­cle­obases are to ge­net­ics or lightsabres are to Jedi knights.

To them, streetwear—that deeply ironic, at­ti­tu­di­nal mix­ture of Ja­panese street, surfer, skater and hip-hop styles—has been with them since they were old enough to at­tempt ol­lies in the drive­way. And their pas­sion for it runs hot­ter and deeper than ever if last June’s re­lease of Yeezy Boost 350 sneak­ers is any in­di­ca­tion.

The shoes, cre­ated by Kanye West in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Adi­das, sold out across the United States in one hour. Since then, the $200 kicks have hit the sec­ondary mar­ket—which is to say they’re on ebay. As I type th­ese words, a pair have auc­tioned af­ter a last-minute bid­ding war for $704.

Streetwear is no longer kids’ stuff. The youth who lusted over the orig­i­nal Nike SB (that’s “skate­board­ing”) in 2002 aren’t boys or teens any­more. They have grad­u­ated and taken jobs, and some have be­come par­ents. Streetwear, as it once ex­isted, has grown up. And we have high fash­ion to thank for its mat­u­ra­tion—or, de­pend­ing on your per­spec­tive, its demise.

This sea­son, lux­ury la­bels tapped into this un­der­ground aes­thetic for in­spi­ra­tion, youth­ful en­ergy and, most im­por­tant, street cred. On Paris run­ways, semi­ar­moured hard bod­ies swag­gered at Philipp Plein’s fall/win­ter 2015 show. They wore toques and blackand-white faux foot­ball shirts em­bla­zoned with pan­thers. There were baggy tops with clichéd skull and cross­bones and sweat­pants with the word “War­rior” stitched across the front of the crotch. It’s a brash re­hash of ur­ban sports­wear by FUBU and Enyce circa 1998 that ap­pears to have been or­ches­trated by an Arc­tic Mad Max.

When Plein talked to the press, he took great pains to point out that the over­sized T-shirts were “re­al­ized en­tirely in crocodile or python,” the run­ning pants were “re­con­structed in kid-glove-like leather” and their jump­suits were both “over-the-top” and “python.” The de­clared in­tent was “un­com­pro­mis­ing moder­nity,” but it feels more like a hyped-up endgame. When some­thing gets so big, so badass, so bling, you ex­pect it to reach su­per­nova sta­tus and leave noth­ing be­hind.

Or are de­sign­ers only in­tro­duc­ing a “haute-es­que” sen­si­bil­ity into their looks as a joke? Hu­mour has al­ways

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