Streetwear has recently undergone an evolution.
Moving from its subversive subculture dominated primarily by surfboarders and skaters, streetwear is now a solid staple of everyday fashion – and for good reason.
Streetwear is pretty damn hot due to many factors, including its comfort and the societal acceptance of casual wear outside the gym and home.
Celebrities who routinely sport streetwear have also contributed to its growing presence, raising its popularity from subculture to pop culture status.
Whether following the style of your favorite hip-hop artist, skateboarder or embracing it for its I-don’t-give-a-fuck-attitude, here are major streetwear players, some newer kids on the block, and a few of our fave brands inspired by street art.
Founder: Shawn Stussy
Streetwear pretty much begins and ends with Stussy.
Widely credited with starting the streetwear movement when he slapped a logo on a T-shirt prior to a three-day tradeshow, the company that Shawn Stussy founded in 1980 continues to thrive nearly 40 years later.
With 75 stores around the world, a focused distribution system and gear that still bears his iconic signature, Stussy’s California-cool surf and streetwear always exceed expectations.
Stussy is a brand that’s often duplicated but never replicated, and it’s a tribute to his legacy that competitor after competitor imitate the Stussy style. Known for offering limited editions and for collaborating with celebrities, Stussy is always at the very top of its game and one of the best in the business.
Founder: James Jebbia
Recognized for its signature weekly drops at 11 a.m. on Thursdays, Supreme is the un-streetwear streetwear brand. Founder James Jebbia eschews the label streetwear and also is quick to note that Supreme’s drops aren’t limited, just controlled so the company does not get stuck with too much inventory.
These values have helped launch Supreme into the stratosphere in the world of streetwear, as drops routinely sell out instantaneously.
The Supreme brand caters to the skater, hip-hop, and rock cultures, as well as to youth culture, in general. In addition to clothes and accessories, Supreme also manufactures skateboards, and its iconic stores are known for their wide aisles, to accommodate customers carrying their skate gear.
Over its twenty-four plus year history, Supreme has worked with some of our generation’s most groundbreaking designers, artists, photographers, and musicians, including artists Keith Haring and Rammelzee and street art photographer Martha Cooper, among many others.
Founder: Lev Tanju
That’s the most apt way to describe a brand that has risen to superstar status in the world of streetwear in its first decade. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Palace is arguably the favorite among men in the streetwear fashion genre.
Also a favorite line of streetwear among skateboarders, founder Lev Tanju is a pure magician, with an uncanny knack to transport the vibe of London street culture into his products. The company has come along way from its first offerings, which consisted of T-shirts, one nicking the iconic Versace Medusa’s head graphic that he had designed, and one with the original Palace logo.
Founder(s): Bobby Kim and Ben Shenassafer
Inspired by California’s punk, hip-hop, skateboarding and surfing cultures, The Hundreds has built an empire in the world of streetwear via social and traditional media.
With its own stores in the United States, a worldwide recognized brand, and a constantly expanding line of products, The Hundreds is a streetwear industry leader on many fronts, and especially in social and traditional media streetwear platforms.
The Hundreds has its own print magazine, co-founder Kim’s streetwear blog is one of the most widely read on the Internet and his soon-to-be-released book, This is Not a T-shirt shot to number one in pre-release sales across several categories on Amazon, including fashion and business.
Kim is a highly respected streetwear industry expert, and the tireless energy of the company’s co-founders along with their vast streetwear knowledge cements their place in streetwear lore.
A Bathing Ape
A Bathing Ape is a men’s, women’s and children’s lifestyle and streetwear brand whose customers, well, literally, go apeshit over.
Although Nigo no longer owns the company, Bathing Ape has nearly 20 stores in Japan, including its Bape Stores, Bape Pirate Stores, Bape Kids Stores, Bapexclusive Aoyama, and Bapexclusive Kyoto, and other locations in the United States, Great Britain and around the world.
Founder: Shepard Fairey
You gotta love a company focused on making the world a better place to live.
Founded by street artist and illustrator Shepard Fairey, OBEY is an extension to his work in social activism. The brand is well known for incorporating politically and socially provocative messaging into the designs of their clothing, with the owner calling his products “manufactured dissent.”
Fairey’s OBEY Clothing company sells products designed to spark a conversation among youth, and Fairey continues to push his messages with street art and other art forms around the world.
Believing that the “medium is the message,” Fairey is able to communicate his world views on a plethora of issues via his street art and his clothing. OBEY is a breath of fresh air in a world consumed by selfies and social media.
Founder: Keith Hufnagel
HUF is a California-based skate, footwear and apparel label that was founded by Keith Hufnagel. The company has fused skateboarding, streetwear, and sneaker fashion and is inspired by vintage American craftsmanship, design, and functionality.
Prior to launching HUF, Hufnagel worked at Stussy, where he learned the intricacies of design. When he launched his namesake brand and boutique in the San Francisco Bay area, he provided the region with a one-stop-shop for world-class street apparel, skate hardgoods, and rare footwear. A short time later, his in-house label was taking more shelf space than outside stock. Today, HUF is a globally recognized street brand for the post-skate lifestyle consumer.
Founder(s): James Bond and Eddie Cruz
Another brand with plenty of street cred, Undefeated serves as a friendly reminder that your shoes are an important part of your streetwear style.
Based in Los Angeles and founded by James Bond and Eddie Cruz,
Undefeated (UNDFTD) is a premium sneaker boutique that quite frequently collaborates with such brands such as A Bathing Ape, Champion, Neighborhood, WTAPS, adidas, ASICS, Converse, Nike, and Vans.
Undefeated also features a long line of streetwear fashion to compliment footwear. With so much inventory to choose from, it’s easy to see why Undefeated is set to go the distance.
Founder: Ronnie Fieg
There’s nothing wrong with shopping online, but if you want KITH gear, then you need to embrace the Snarkitecture and visit one of the company’s five flagship stores. Working with Snarkitecture, a New York-based collaborative, KITH stores encourage customers to push their boundaries by exploring and immersing themselves in their surroundings and, in the process, have a completely unique shopping experience.
Founded by Ronnie Fieg, KITH is an extension of its owner, who “seeks to shift the current landscape of fashion, while operating under a personal philosophy of giving the consumer more than what they pay for.”
Founder: Rob Gough
We have to admit that DOPE is a pretty cool name for a streetwear brand. Based in Los Angeles, and named one of the fastest growing companies in the L.A. area, their clothing line is available in boutiques around the world. You know your brand is, in fact, DOPE when it’s worn by such musical icons as P. Diddy, Jay-Z, Big Sean, Wale, Talib Kweli, Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, Kid Ink, and Kendrick Lamar. DOPE offers a selection of independent brands along with their monthly collections, including denim wear, hats, pullovers, and shoes.
Billionaire Boys Club
Founder(s): Pharrell Williams & Nigo
You don’t have to be a billionaire to feel like one in Billionaire Boys Club gear.
Although the company experienced initial growing pains, it has persevered to become a major force in the world of streetwear. Over the years, BBC has diversified to include its Ice Cream brand and Billionaire Girls Club line of clothing.
Speaking of the ladies, we’d be remiss if we didn’t offer some brands that cater exclusively to them.
Founder: Lanie Alabanza
With shirts that say “Girls Just Want to Have Blunts” and “Respect is Just a Minimum,” it’s easy to see why Hellz Bellz (HLZBLZ) is badass apparel. And, founder Lanie Alabanza has never subscribed to the rules of conformity.
HLZBLZ has provided fashion alternatives for the bold fashionista since 2005 with edgy tops, jackets, denim, and accessories, influenced by all things subversive. You go, girl!
Married to the Mob
Founder: Leah McSweeney
Married to the Mob (MTTM) is just as nonconformist as HLZBLZ. In fact, MTTM voice since day one has been “clear and consistent, bold, edgy and apologetically feminist.”
Founded in 2004 by a “bored and sauced up” Leah McSweeney in response to all the boy streetwear brands, MTTM is now found in over 100 retail stores and they have collaborated with over 30 different brands. Girl Power!
Founder: Scott Sasso
One of the longest standing brands still in the game, 10 Deep manufactures some of the highest quality streetwear on the market. True masters of their craft, 10 Deep creates “highly-detailed and augmented takes” on traditional sports and workwear.
Diamond Supply Co.
Founder: Nicholas Tershay
Founded in his one-bedroom in San Francisco, Nicholas Tershay has brought Diamond from its modest beginnings to a top skater streetwear brand over the past 20 years. Building a hard (bolts, nuts, and boards) and soft goods (T-shirts, fleece and accessories) business, skaters and streetwear enthusiasts alike have embraced Diamond. Now based in Los Angeles, Diamond has flagship stores in New York and San Francisco.
Founder: Rick Klotz
Rick Klotz isn’t big on labels, branding or marketing, but he’s still managed to make Freshjive a household name in streetwear. His clothing line defies labels, too. Part punk, part street, part skate, he’s managed to eschew convention to create streetwear that is truly original.
Founder: Hamilton Carhartt
Although Carhartt was founded long before the streetwear movement to serve those who work in the great outdoors, nearly 100 years later the company launched Carhartt uk to serve its European audience with streetwear. Carhartt uk adapts iconic Carhartt gear for those seeking refined design and style that remains true to the work ethic of the original brand.
Crooks & Castles
Founders: Dennis Calveri and Rob Panlilio
Based on the principles of family and loyalty, C & C scores major points for its originality. From their Medusa T-shirts and all over “chains” designs, C&C is an upscale luxury brand firmly rooted in streetwear. In the case of C & C, you “Can’t Stop the Crooks.”
Founder(s): Eli Bonerz & Adam Silverman
A pioneer of streetwear since the early 1990s and one of the true OGs, X-Large is adept at mixing workwear like Carhartt with celebrity culture, musical influences, mid-century design, and skate styles to carve its own niche in the streetwear genre.
With backing from the rap community and Hollywood, the creation of its X Girl line and its iconic gorilla logo gear, X-Large is – and will continue to be – a BIG part of the streetwear scene.
Founder: Jonas Bevacqua and Robert Wright
LRG is known for selling hip-hoppers and skateboarders clothing and other merchandise as expressions of “ridiculous swagger”. They also market their eclectic clothing to customers eager to push their appearance beyond what had become conventional hip-hop and skate wear. The unconventional LRG line has ranged from ostrich-skin hats to a marching-band jacket and a hoodie decorated with a likeness of the Tokyo skyline. Ridiculous swagger, indeed!
Founder: Jason Dill
With its photo- and video-centric website that features skateboarders doing their thing, it’s hard to tell exactly what Fucking Awesome is actually selling. But there’s no denying that their site is fucking awesome. The website mirrors the values of its founder, Jason Dill, a professional skateboard legend, who is as dedicated to his line of streetwear as he is the craft of skateboarding.
Founder: Shinsuke Takizawa
While so many streetwear brands are geared toward the skate and music scenes, Neighborhood is a rare breed, designed specifically as a tribute to the small but enthusiast subculture of the Japanese motorcycle community. Shinsuke Takizawa, a hardcore motorcyclist, launched the company to celebrate his love for the lifestyle. Neighborhood’s premium gear also includes military, workwear, counter-culture, Native American and outdoor themes.
Founder(s): Edison Chen and Kevin Poon
On a mission to bring together East and West by “instilling creativity and inspiring perspectives”, CLOT has been described by experts as the coolest and most prestigious Chinese streetwear label on the market.
Founder(s): Paul Rodriguez, Heath Brinkley, Andy Netkin, Jay Partow, and Jubal Jones
With its deep ties to the skateboard culture, thanks to skateboarding professional Paul Rodriguez’s investment in the company, Primitive is primed to be a major player for a long time to come. From their graphic T-shirts to their line of skateboards and various collaborations, including its relationship with the Rick and Morty TV show brand, Primitive’s diversification is helping to ensure its longevity.
Founder(s): Johan Lam and Andrew Chen
On the surface, 3sixteen doesn’t appear to be a streetwear brand, but turn the clock back to their beginnings and you’d find nothing but graphic tees, hoodies, and embroidered hats. For their 15 year anniversary, they’ve brought back one of their original designs. The ‘Cousins’ tee originally appeared as a short sleeve version, but 3sixteen reprised it as a long sleeve for the special occasion. Here’s to their next 15 years!
Us versus Them
Founder: James Banuelos
Celebrating the power and talent of the individual over the herd mentality, this theme runs consistently throughout their line of clothing by way of graphic design, symbols and messaging. Us v. Them offers tees, sweatshirts, tops, headwear, and gear, and is a worldwide recognized brand.
Founder: Jonathan Price Totaro
Reason has built its streetwear cred on offering limited runs that were individually numbered and heavily influenced by the New York City vibe. The Reason brand consists of t-shirts, caps, woven shirts, knitwear, premium denim, accessories, and outerwear.
Founder(s): Michael Yabut and Alfred De Tagle
Black Scale (BLVCK SCVLE) is a lifestyle and streetwear clothing brand that has edgy and avant-garde designs that embrace a monochromatic color palette of black, grey and other dark colors. BLVCK SCVLE is unique since they shun colorful motifs found in so many streetwear brands. Instead, the company embraces dark undertones of religious imagery and related symbolism.
Black Scale has previously teamed up with brands such as A Bathing Ape, adidas Originals, HUF, Stussy, and Timberland.
Founder(s): Arnaud Delecolle, Tony Arcabascio, Tammy Brainard and Rob Cristofaro
Alife’s innovative designs and forward-thinking products propelled them into an internationally renowned streetwear clothing brand and boutique. The name of the brand came from the idea of bringing inanimate objects to life or infusing hype into a product. Alife has collaborated with other companies such as Nike, Reebok, adidas, New Balance, Saucony, Timberland, ASICS, Lacoste, Mitchell & Ness, Dickies, Kangol and more. Alife is also the brains behind A.R.C., a premier sneaker boutique.
Founder: Eric Brunetti
There are plenty of reasons to like FUCT.
On a personal level, the company’s founder, Eric Brunetti, has roots in Pennsylvania, our home turf. Secondly, the company caters to the skateboard culture.
The biggest reason, however, has to do with the company’s epic battle with the Supreme Court over trademarking its name. Although the company’s been permitted to register its brand, the SCOTUS has declared the name “scandalous” and “immoral” even though Brunetti maintains that it is not a “bad word” brand.
“It’s actually very intuitive and questions society’s usual paradigm,” Brunetti said in published reports. “The name is a paradox.” His lawyer told the press that the brand could be viewed as an acronym for “Friends U Can’t Trust.” He further explains that the company name parodies corporate logos such as the emblem for Ford automobiles and in doing so questions corporate and cultural values (yet another reason to love this brand). The sweet irony in the whole debate is that no judges would say the word in court while discussing the FUCT case.
Founder: Micah Belamarich
Sometimes, you have to be true to your roots, and Only NY is just that: a company that pays homage to all things New York. An independent streetwear brand, their line is heavily influenced by the culture of New York City, nature, skateboarding, graffiti, sports, arts, and photography.
Founder: jeffstaple (born Jeff Ng)
What started as a small T-Shirt line handmade by graphic designer jeffstaple, grew organically and began to gain visibility in NYC. The company’s iconic pigeon not only exists as a representation of New York but also the influence behind Staple’s extensive apparel range and collaborative items available across the world. Inspired by street culture and design, Staple’s reach encompasses many different landscapes such as fashion, music, sports, and art.
Founder: Hardy Blechman
Maharishi is living proof that a business can be grounded in environmentally sound practices while producing fairly traded utilitarian goods that are long-lasting and constructed of high-quality materials.
The Great Britain-based company’s collections have always include hemp, organic cotton, and repurposed military clothing, so major props to Maharishi for maintaining a deep respect for our planet. The high-concept Maharishi flagship store in London is plastered with street art and fashion, vinyl figures, and skateboards, and has hosted exhibitions for numerous artists and designers to deliver an unforgettable shopping experience.
Founder(s): Sam Lee and Frankie Cheung
Paying tribute to the nautical lifestyle they cherish so dearly, founders Sam Lee and Frankie Cheung use that inspiration to craft original pieces that compliment the lives they lead. Short for submarine and crew, Subcrew achieves greatness by infusing their passion into their line of streetwear.
Founder(s): Mikhail Bortnik and Greg Rivera
Drawing up colorful patterns, its iconic “Keep Watch” eye, and “Bearmop logo of a badass cartoon bear, Mishka is a streetwear brand that manufactures bottoms, shirts, hats, hoodies, accessories, and sweaters for the entire family.
Founder: Bryan Calvero
Born out of a passion for automobiles, Bryan Calvero has created a niche streetwear brand that caters to motorheads. Calvero has combined motorsports with his background in the fashion industry to create pieces that are comfortable to wear.
Period Correct has a retail outlet containing an assortment of automobile memorabilia, including automobile collectibles, art, books, magazines and even furniture for sale. At any given time, the retail store, located in Costa Mesa, California, also has museum-quality vintage Porsches, rally cars and classic BMWs on display to get the hearts of fans racing in overdrive.
Founder(s): Ryan Arakaki, Todd Shimabuku, Jun Jo, and Keith Kanagusuku
In4mation is a Hawaiian streetwear label whose products have strong roots in the Hawaiian skating scene and are heavily influenced by the skating subculture. The brand has also collaborated with other high profile brands, such as G-SHOCK, The Hundreds, and Stussy.
Founder: Marcus Burrowes
Marcus Burrowes showcases his reverence for the arts, fashion, and music by connecting his love of rasta, dancehall, punk rock, metal, hip-hop with the skate and surf cultures to create one of the industry’s most original and recognizable brands.
A native of Kingston, Jamaica and a New York City resident, Burrowes translates his life experiences into his art and streetwear designs that reflect his worldview on politics and other issues.
Founder: Jason Gomez
Jason Gomez is the man behind Seattle-based Flying Coffin and his streetwear line is a reflection of his personality. Described as hardcore, unpopular and all things strange, Flying Coffin is unapologetically original. Whether sharing his opinions on social media about companies that try to squeeze every last penny out of their customers or the freaky nature of collaborations. Flying Coffin is a gritty, no-holds-barred and unabashed streetwear brand, and that’s just the way we like it.
Founder(s): Nico Guardalabene, Bam Barcena and Ryan Barcena
Born from the pavement that’s so familiar to hoop players and skateboarders, Rokit fuses those two sports with modern Japenese styles to create a truly unique brand. An overt decision to employ orange with minimal colors also gives Rokit its own distinct style. Collabs with HLZ BLZ, Undefeated and others have helped shoot Rokit from the hot streets of L.A. into the stratosphere of streetwear brands.
Many of the aforementioned brands are not new players in the world of streetwear and have, over time, carved out a name in the annals of streetwear. With that in mind, we thought we’d share a few emerging streetwear labels you need to know.
Founder(s): Rico Swan, Paul Richards, and Gerry Laureus
The New York-based Lemonade Stand takes an uplifting approach to their brand, consciously choosing to make lemonade out of lemons, or something out of nothing. Their bright colors and wordplay make them a brand that will quench your thirst for original streetwear.
Do Good Forever
Founder(s): Michael Johnson and Cam Gilmer
As it continues to grow its social media presence and more rap star artists like Ugly God and Father wear their gear, Eugene, Oregon-based Do Good Forever is clearly on the cusp of establishing a refreshing presence in streetwear. Sales have also been aided due to their messaging that raises environmental awareness and doing right by your fellow man.
Founder: Stephen Hung
The brilliance or radiant splendor of San Francisco-based Effulgence is embedded in the company’s philosophy to never feel guilty of wanting more out of life and constantly striving to reach a higher level of brilliance. Founder Stephen Hung explains that society has a way of keeping us from reaching our full potential and that individuals should take the first four letters of his company name, EFFU, and apply that to the naysayers who would keep you from reaching your full potential in life.
Founder: Muhammad Elgawly
Our Phriends in Philly make the list for their Italian-inspired craftsmanship and their line of clean-cut menswear. They recently released a collab with W hotels on an “exclusive capsule collection inspired by the 24/7 lifestyle of New York City.” We wholeheartedly support a brand that is as uber-cool as the W hotel chain.
Founder(s): Erica and Clifford Lidell
Youth Machine is a love story, born out of the desire for Erica and Clifford Lidell to spend more time together and maximize their creative talents. Cognizant that we are only given so much time on this planet, the duo has immersed themselves in a brand that celebrates many things, including design, music, and technology. The L.A.-based business is known for exuding the hyper-clean grunge look in their designs.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include some streetwear brands with ties to street art since supporting street artists is part of our mission.
Founder: Ruslan Karablinl
The brand name, which is RUSS spelled backwards, gives hints of the artist’s Russian heritage. Inspired by imperial artists like Keith Haring, founder Ruslan Karablin strives to offer deeper concepts and meanings to his clothes instead of merely creating a skin-deep commercial streetwear brand.
Founder(s): Joshy D and Mike Giant
Tattooer, graffiti artist and co-founder Mike Giant creates most of the designs found on REBEL8’s gear, with heavy influences from the graffiti, skateboard art and tattoo cultures. The company is also one of the last authentic brands to incorporate original, hand-illustrated artistic works within its pieces.
eWKUKs is the perfect marriage of streetwear and street art with their dual flagship store and art gallery located on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. Besides shopping for streetwear, customers can also view street art in their gallery, purchase artwork and support local artists. eWKUKs, pronounced “you-küks”, is an acronym for “Everyone Who Knows Us KnowS…” and was founded upon the idea of accepting who you are and embracing what makes you… you.
Hektik is an independent streetwear label located in the Rhein-Main area of Germany. Their primary focus is providing urban essentials for men and women, including jerseys, T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, and accessories. Premium quality products with plenty of style, and often designed in collaboration with outstanding members of the German and international graffiti and street art communities, Hektik celebrates the many talents of street artists from around the world.
Peace Give Peace
Founder: Giles Avant
Streetwear with a purpose.
The mission of this new start-up gives 10 percent to mental health organizations.
Avant says he has dealt with mental health issues and wanted to do something to uplift those who have similar experiences.
Saying it is the “skateboard brand doing the most good,” Peace Give Peace sells skateboard shirts, beanies, hats, hoodies, jackets, and skate decks.