I am now three weeks deep into a Berlin tech­no binge and an endeav­or to up my fash­ion game.
(The two are not relat­ed in any way.)
I’d like to say that I’ve always dressed myself nice as an adult. (David boasts about me very often on our out­ings.)
With that stat­ed, I still found this unwa­ver­ing need to increase my fash­ion sense and dress bet­ter, and not by just suit­ing up con­stant­ly like that fuck in that shit tele­vi­sion show… How I Met Your Moth­er.
I’m sure­ly going to catch flack for that state­ment, but I don’t often find myself car­ing about the feel­ings of those who enjoy laugh tracks.
So if I wasn’t going to dress up in a three piece every day and look like a super pre­ten­tious dick when I left my home, what could I do? I had hon­est­ly been pon­der­ing this ques­tion about my ears for some­time, until one day, I final­ly saw a top post from /r/streetwear.*
*Yes, I do browse Red­dit, which is not reflec­tive of the rest of our edi­to­r­i­al staff.
I was instant­ly entranced with a new sub­cul­ture of well-dressed men and women that imme­di­ate­ly looked great. A tribe.
Now, for a drunk­en com­par­i­son of Dandy­ism and streetwear.
Streetwear is near­ing 21st cen­tu­ry equiv­a­len­cy with Dandy­ism - a sub­cul­ture of men in the 1800s that dressed very flam­boy­ant­ly - almost like Yan­kee doo­dle. Fuck­er wore a feath­er in his hat.
Dandys would have pub­lic com­pe­ti­tions to see who could redress in the great­est out­ra­geous, yet fash­ion­able garb the most in a sin­gle day. For the truest and wealth­i­est among them, it became a lifestyle - the hand­made cloth­ing, dyes, and mate­ri­als all of the finest cal­iber (and expen­sive as hell, I’d imag­ine.) In that sense, the two have a lot in com­mon.
(If that didn’t make sense, don’t wor­ry about it - I was drunk.)
A bet­ter expla­na­tion: in its rawest form, streetwear is sim­ply small-time indie skate­board cloth­ing from the 1990s turned high-fash­ion. Since, it’s absorbed oth­er sub­styles like tech­wear, but we’ll come back to that.
Streetwear sup­pli­ers have meta­mor­phosed into lux­u­ry brands because their prod­ucts have become vir­tu­al­ly unat­tain­able to the com­mon­er, and peo­ple will pay A Shit Load for t-shirts from resellers with a small red box logo. Seri­ous­ly, fuck the stock mar­ket - reselling streetwear is a bet­ter hus­tle.
Kanye West’s Yeezy” brand sold com­plete­ly out at launch for a rea­son­able $220 - and that’s still two big ones, but it’s doable for a lot of us if we save up for a bit.
Now… say you couldn’t cuff a pair from a retail­er on day one. Well boi/gal… you are fucked. $1200 is con­sid­ered a bar­gain on some pairs, buy­ing on the net or resale stores.
If you’ve got the start­up cap­i­tal and the time to scalp peo­ple on streetwear cloth­ing, it is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed. My bud­dy has a friend who once dealt drugs with some noto­ri­ety, but switched to streetwear resale, a few years ago, and now nets high­er gains than ever.
Some read­ers may find this upset­ting, as will man­u­fac­tur­ers, con­sid­er­ing their ori­gins in DIY skate­board­ing. They’d pre­fer nor­mal, law-abid­ing, skate­board­ing cus­tomers, who often find retail prices unaf­ford­ably steep. In the past, com­pa­nies have open­ly dis­cour­aged resale, yet the appar­ent sim­ple fix would be to increase their num­ber of prod­ucts sold. The­o­ret­i­cal­ly, their exclu­siv­i­ty would suf­fer neg­a­tive con­se­quences, though.
Kanye West has spo­ken out on the top­ic, and intend­ed to up the release quan­ti­ty of Yeezy V2s, but some­thing ran amok in the fac­to­ries, like­ly sus­tain­ing their scarci­ty until lat­er this year. At least Yeezus tried.
Should you find your­self des­per­ate for a pair or two, there are alter­na­tives to a $1200 wait. You could always par­take in the evil under­bel­ly of fash­ion: boot­leg­ging.
The issue is very much like a two-par­ty Amer­i­can polit­i­cal debate. Both sides - for, or a against it - duke it out on forums and social media. The most detri­men­tal effect of the prac­tice is in the dis­tri­b­u­tion of rev­enue, which flows in unknown por­tions into the sex trade by way of child labor. While it could be a legit­i­mate accu­sa­tion, we all know that tak­ing the veil off of com­pa­nies like [REDACTED,] [REDACTED,] or [REDACTED,] would reveal less-than-pious fac­to­ry con­di­tions, so look­ing down at indi­vid­u­als wear­ing boot­legged appar­el from a moral high ground makes you look like an ass.
On the oth­er hand, denial in the inter­est of look­ing cool on the part of the wear­er in such sit­u­a­tions rel­e­gates him/her to piece of shit sta­tus, too. I own a pair of UA(unau­tho­rized) Yeezys, and I’ll tell the truth if I’m asked in per­son, though the Mid­west cul­ture seems to be rel­a­tive­ly apa­thet­ic about fash­ion authen­tic­i­ty.
Mis­souri Grand­moth­ers don’t care about anyone’s shoes, unless they make you look like a strip­per.
I don’t feel bad about my mon­ey going to some shadey fac­to­ry - sor­ry Kanye, you’re not get­ting $200 from me, today. I’m okay with divert­ing my invest­ment away from you or Addi­das - I think you’ll all be just fine with­out my finan­cial sup­port.
Tech­ni­cal­ly, there is a third and final option. Find cheap, unbrand­ed cloth­ing on the inter­net that looks like some­thing expen­sive, and rock it. Per­haps even get your­self a screen print­ing press and make your own shit. (I’ve been think­ing about this for Extra­tone.) The only draw­back: you won’t be flex­ing a $3000 out­fit, and some peo­ple on the inter­net will say mean things. Then again, they’ll always say mean things, and there’s no rea­son to lis­ten to them if you think you look good.
Unless you’re wear­ing socks with san­dals and car­go shorts… Then, you’re in need of some deep self-reflec­tion.
Senior Edi­tor, Cul­ture