Why Abloh Says “Streetwear Is A Trap” & Suggests An Alternative Term

Virgil Abloh

By Isaac Breese

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Twitter: @pinsandlapels

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but in the past couple of years the term streetwear has been paraded around by commercial fashion brands as way to lure in millennials.

In other words, high end brands are driving their white vans with “streetwear” plastered on the side in attempt to snatch young shoppers. But the streetwear king himself, Virgil Abloh, is telling us it’s a trap–don’t get in the van.

At WWD’s Apparel and Retail CEO Summit he gave his thoughts on the term “streetwear” saying,

“It’s sort of seen as an ingredient that you just sprinkle on anything, but more what it means in the practical sense is clothing that people wear on the street.”

Abloh makes a good point. Just about anything that isn’t a suit is considered streetwear. Big name brands have been slapping the term on everything and inflating their prices beyond reasonable proportions to make it seem like their building this exclusive community in which you have to pay a premium to get in.

Even publications like GQ have adopted the phrase urging readers to buy the latest “streetwear” trends.

Ideally, streetwear is just clothes worn on the street, nothing more nothing less. So should brands continue to use the phrase as a marketing ploy?

Abloh doesn’t think so.

“I think the key word is relevancy” he said. “If something is relevant it’s already occurring on the street, you see it. When the brand is sort of communicating relevant things, you’re going to see a major sort of engagement. But it’s not a figurative thing that can be designed into products or designed into campaigns.” 

Instead of “streetwear” brands should be making relevant clothing. What does this mean?

It means that instead of being stagnant, brands should look to accommodate the customer’s wants and needs not simply make up a term and throw it around willy-nilly in hope of making their products seem relevant.

Too often the fashion industry tries to force-feed trends by looking to Hollywood instead of studying what real people wear on real streets.

I hope Abloh’s words struck a cord within the fashion industry because it’s about time that brands made relevant clothing. It’s time that brands start paying attention to us; the people on the streets.

Post Author: Isaac Breese

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