However, for a new generation of consumers, urban fashion, which originated in Harlem in the 1980s, has become an entire segment of the luxury industry and, for this avid segment, has come to symbolize luxury itself. Luxury has overcome its obsession with urban fashion. Luxury urban clothing highlights the complex role that fashion plays in our consumer culture. The logo on the chest or the sneakers on the feet represent more than the brand behind them.
Place a designer label on an item and it's a sign of status and exclusivity. These expensive labels are symbols of social status that reflect your level of income and personal values. Urban fashion attracts a base of highly influential young consumers. Therefore, luxury urban fashion gives traditional high-end brands greater relevance to traditional high-end brands in the eyes of their millennial and generation Z buyers.
Unlike most areas of fashion, urban clothing usually includes sizes, is gender-neutral, and is made or worn by people of color. But the more urban clothing designers spend on the mainstream, the more they care about the community. Culturally, today's urban clothing market has once again been dominated by small but influential brands. An example of the connection between urban fashion and pop culture can be seen through the various styles of music that influence urban style.
The audience consisted of fans of the popular urban clothing brand Off-White, whose fall collection would be paraded that night. While luxury brands have always been inspired by underground style, subculture and urban fashion, for the first time, these designers and brands are sitting down at the table. Dapper Dan, a designer based in Harlem who created luxury urban clothing for hip-hop artists and influencers of color. Backed by influencers and celebrities on the Internet, Virgil Abloh is the founder of the urban high fashion brand Off-White (used all over the world, from Drake to Jay Z, Rihanna, Beyoncé and more) and the longtime creative director of American rapper Kanye West.
These brands didn't start out manufacturing urban clothing, but eventually joined the trend when it was economically lucrative to do so. Understanding the difference between the different types of urban clothing brands can make the difference between looking like an OG and looking like an aspiring cheap one. This season, sneakers and hoodies rarely appeared at mega-bank shows in Milan and Paris in fashion weeks, as in previous years, while urban luxury ties, such as Air Jordan and Dior or Supreme and Louis Vuitton, have become less common. Many urban clothing brands sell exclusively through their own websites rather than through traditional retail channels.
But now, thanks to the predominantly direct-to-consumer model of urban fashion, it is the consumers themselves who are driving the trends. They produce most of the highest-value items in urban fashion, sneakers, which gives them incredible financial power in the urban fashion industry. The rise of urban fashion as the new tenant of luxury stores is just one of the main issues that define urban retail and the main corridors in which these brands live. Meanwhile, many consumers feel that pure urban clothing brands have been over-commercialized and have lost connection with their roots in the street culture of the 80s, hip-hop and skateboarding.