On Monday, fashion industry website The Business of Fashion released a list of the hottest brands in fashion for the third quarter of 2017 (also known as “July through September”). The data was analyzed in partnership with Lyst, a search platform that tracks 4.5 million data points per hour from over 65 million annual consumers, five million products and 12,000 brands, and it includes some very familiar names like Balenciaga, Gucci, Valentino, and Givenchy.
— Paul Michon (@paulmichon_) November 6, 2017
However, the ranking also contained some brands that many not be familiar to those who don’t pride themselves on being fashion forward and keeping up with the latest trends. Off-White, a a fashion label founded by DJ and fashion designer Virgil Abloh, made an astronomical jump in the list, leaping from 31 to 3 in the last quarter, and knocking Kanye West’s Yeezy out of the top 10 entirely.
The success story speaks to the way in which luxury streetwear has stolen the spotlight from traditional high fashion brands. Former giants like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger are seeing decreasing sales in the U.S. market. Last April, Ralph Lauren shuttered its iconic 5th avenue store. And in a development that must have made giant retail stores aghast, Lord & Taylor recently announced that they are closing down their historic flagship department store, to make way for (what else?) a WeWork.
The trend represents a shift in the entire concept of luxury retail. Simply put, the old consumers of these brands are dying out, and the new consumers—Millenials and Gen Zers—are changing the way they shop, focusing on clothing that is more unique, less expensive, ethically sourced, and easy to buy online.
But the brand’s designs are also an indicator of today’s eclectic style, which often seems to combine what used to be considered casual wear with designer shoes, bags, or bling, in a way that makes a statement about the unique individual that is you.
— Grazia UK (@GraziaUK) November 6, 2017
The trend is also reflective on the rise of rappers and hip-hop artists as style influencers.
— Alexandra Mondalek (@amondalek) November 6, 2017
Rihanna is the queen of this type of luxury streetwear, as everything she wears looks like it was pulled randomly out of a closet, cut in various places, and pulled together to look effortlessly cool.
Off-White, which Rihanna seems to frequently wear, is not the only example of this growing trend. As noted by BoF, “this quarter, four of the five new entrants to the Lyst Index—Off-White, Stone Island, Moncler, and Raf Simons—are right in the streetwear sweet spot, making an appearance in the top 10 for the first time.”
Even Balenciaga, which was founded in 1914, has streetwear to credit for its ability to knock Gucci out of the top spot on the list.
— Sarah K Agbeme (@SarahAgbeme) October 21, 2017
So, if you’re aiming to look cool and trendy this winter, you better put away that little black dress and pull out a pair of overalls, white sneakers, and some crazy jewelry and putting it together in whatever way moves you. Because all those classic rules of wearing white after labor day and matching your bag to your shoes are out the window—it’s a crazy world out there, and the only rule is there are no rules.
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