LONDON Fashion Week is home to the peacocks, the bloggers and the industry elite. But there seems to be a subtle shift on the horizon. The crowds are fighting back and we’re starting to see a new generation of trendsetters. These are the people taking street style back to its roots, drawing inspiration from urban locals, and putting together outfits that are functional, as well as original.
The cobbles of Somerset House had a clear divide this season. Yes, there was still the usual circus of bright and bold characters; however the youth are starting to reclaim street style- doing so pretty effortlessly. Paying homage to the 80’s, this new wave of urban innovators are borrowing the sportswear vibe, with white trainers, slung on rucksacks and bomber jackets to create the ultimate low maintenance looks.
Underground urban brands are emerging and young people are wearing them with some serious attitude. No longer are fashion crowds dressing to impress. They’re dressing for themselves. Rather than tottering from show to show in six inch heels, trainers are the preferred footwear of choice. Practical as well as comfortable-the only choice for a hectic Fashion Week.
Perhaps Nike has something to do with this movement? Trainers are no longer what you wear to school PE lessons. Nike has created more intricate designs, and you can even design your own. Individual style is being nurtured and young people are bringing this onto the streets. Grass roots street style has the unrivalled ability to influence other street dwellers. The accessibility of the internet has allowed searching for outfit inspiration to provide immediate gratification. However street style is also starting to be noticed by designers and retailers. Designers are responding to what ‘real’ people are wearing, incorporating realistic, ready to wear pieces to their collections.
Urban street style isn’t purely down to aesthetics though. It represents far more than that. It represents the foundation of the contemporary generation as they begin to shape the world they live in. Street style may seem like a relatively new phenomenon, but in actual fact it’s something that has steadily adapted over time. Let’s take punk as an example. Kitted out in leather jackets and trademark Doc Martens, the youth in particular reflected their socio-economic status and teenage angst. The 80’s were lively and fast paced and this was portrayed on the streets. Techno played an important role, with street style becoming an exhibition of crazy colour. Like the trends that came before it urban street style is a portrayal of today’s voice. It merges values, morals, culture and history to create a look that simply speaks for itself.
Today’s generation are the ones that don’t adhere to glamour and glitz and the ‘circus’ as fashion journalist Suzy Menkes puts it. Yes, they may still refer to magazine editorials or be inspired by the celebrities that are ‘spontaneously’ snapped, but there’s no denying that these new generation of influencers are not merely copycats. Their casual look symbolises exactly what they stand for. They’re quick on their feet and they’re proactive. But most of all, they don’t conform and think entirely for themselves.