Supreme, Stussy, Palace, Primitive, New Balance, Adidas, Nike. In reality, urban fashion now only has a broader definition. It encompasses the old school leaning towards hip hop, the new avant-garde school and everything in between. So, to help set the record straight, here's a summary of the best urban clothing brands on the planet right now and why they deserve your attention.
Supreme in New York is one of OG's urban clothing brands and one of those that revolutionized the scene by throwing away the traditional supply and demand model. It is a movement that has led the skate brand to become one of the most revered names in current fashion, with collaborations with companies such as Rolex and Louis Vuitton. If Shawn Stussy hadn't made his way into the t-shirt business in 1980, today's fashion landscape would be a very different place. After creating excitement with its printed t-shirts, Stüssy, the brand, diversified into surf and skate clothing, becoming the first authentic urban clothing brand, laying the foundations for those that would come.
Today, Stüssy continues to be a driving force for urban clothing brands, offering forward-thinking designs while remaining faithful to its California roots. Of course, it may not have the same influence as some of its promoted descendants, but it has remained respected and steadfast for nearly 40 years. Which, in this game, is nothing short of incredible. When thinking about British brands, what usually comes to mind are traditional names, as opposed to urban high fashion brands that change the genre.
However, since London-based A-Cold-Wall* has been going from strength to strength in recent years, that could change. Founded in Ura-Harajuku, Tokyo, in 1993, A Bathing Ape (or BAPE) quickly became known as the wacky urban clothing brand with a Japanese twist. The founder Nigo (whose real name is Tomoaki Nagao) is a kind of cult figure on the scene, and his obsession with sneakers, toys and graphics on the face has meant that his brand has become one of the most recognizable brands in existence. Of course, BAPE is best known for its bright multicolored camouflage prints and its shark hoodies that zip over the user's face.
These bold design motifs have made the brand popular with teenagers around the world. Meanwhile, older urban fashion fans tend to stay away. We live in a time when it is as likely to see urban clothing brands parading the catwalks as urban youth shaken by urban youth. It's a change that has redefined what urban fashion really is, and it's fair to say that Off-White was one of the main brands responsible for the reorganization.
The brand is the creation of Virgil Abloh, a designer with a taste for ironic brands who worked hard at Fendi while interning with Kanye West. After becoming creative director of Louis Vuitton, he easily became one of the most influential figures in fashion. Abloh's own brand, Off-White, has become one of the most popular brands on the face of the Earth. Think of bold prints, ironic labels and high-profile collaborations.
Carhartt WIP (which stands for “Work In Progress”) is the coolest European cousin of Detroit workwear stalwart Carhartt. Since the launch of the sublabel in 1994, the brand has gone from being a supplier of dirty overalls to being the backbone of the best collections of children's clothing. Combining the rugged quality of Heritage Carhartt with an eye for contemporary design, WIP has earned a place as one of the best urban clothing brands on the planet. The essence of Palace is its sporty aesthetic, with regular tracksuits, baseball caps and ties, with great hits such as Adidas and Reebok that form the center of its production.
So don't be surprised if you see the odd snakeskin moccasin or smoking jacket pop up from time to time. Cav Empt, the work of Sk8thing, the creator of the iconic graphics of Human Made, Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream, and music industry veteran Toby Feltwell, is one of those urban clothing brands that defend those who left behind their sweatshirts with the Supreme Box logo and were looking for something new and exciting. Created by former Supreme creative director Brenden Babenzien, Noah is urban clothing for adults. Its production, which offers everything from corduroy caps and university sweatshirts to Oxford shirts and tailoring with a different touch, offers a reliable alternative when the day comes to set expectations aside.
Huf is one of the urban clothing brands that you may have known for a long time. And by a long time, we meant the early 90s. Keith Hufnagel, founder and namesake of the brand, opened the first HUF store in San Francisco in 2002, and sold brands such as Supreme and works by Aaron Rose and Haroshi. Are you looking for urban clothing of supreme quality without a high price, or do you just want to diversify your wardrobe? Some of the best Supreme impersonators are Vetements, Obey, Noah, Off-White and Kith.
All the brands on this list have some level of street reputation (if we put it on this list it means something). Rappers wear urban clothing brands like Yeezy, Off-White, Supreme, Brain Dead, Carhartt WIP and more. Stussy, one of the urban clothing brands, was established in the early 1980s in California, a time when surfing culture began to gain popularity. Founder Shawn Stussy was also a surfer and used to work on boards for his friends in Laguna Beach.
He began by screen printing t-shirts with a graffitie-like logo to sell them along with his boards, and soon the word began to spread among the close-knit community. By expanding to other product lines, all with its distinctive logo as a motif, Stussy grew exponentially to become one of the most popular names in the industry. Like many urban clothing brands, Supreme began as a cult skate brand. It dressed Manhattan skaters in the 90s from its original store on Lafayette Street, before expanding rapidly throughout the 2000s to where it is today.
Surprisingly, Palace has only existed for a little over a decade. And in that time, the British brand, founded in London by Lev Tanju, has quickly become one of the most promoted brands in the world. Once again, Palace began as a skateboard-focused company with its own team of professionals, started small and grew rapidly, capitalizing on its model of producing tight and limited runs of clothing and using social media to promote it. Known both for its triangular logo and for its irreverent product descriptions, Palace is going from strength to strength.
Another New York brand that has quickly gained popularity, Aime Leon Dore's aesthetic is hard to pin down. Its tailoring offer has clear preparatory influences, which is inspired by classic British design and the Ivy League style. But it combines it with an intelligent vision of street culture, since it incorporates many design elements from the 90s, such as washed jeans, colorful caps and retro sports references, from vintage basketball shorts to baseball jerseys. Kith's own clothing line is incredibly easy to wear, with some logos included on classic garments, such as tailored pants, country jackets and cardigans.
The urban style of New York is difficult to define, but Awake NY does a good job of capturing the look in its clothing collections. Created by the former brand director of Supreme, Angelo Baque, the Queens brand became famous thanks to the back of its characteristic logo in writing and the eccentric versions of basic clothing in the wardrobe. Nor is collaboration shy. The partnership with brands such as Supreme, Vans and Stussy has ensured that WTAPS remains one of the most promoted brands on the planet.
Created by model, skater and designer Blondey McCoy, Thames MMXX is named after the London river she used to skate on in her early years. When he was still young, Blondey has already been very successful, since he has participated in campaigns for Supreme, Burberry and Palace, the latter with which he is most closely associated. Being a hip-hop DJ allowed NIGO not only to get its brand to support superstars such as Kanye West, but after selling BAPE, it led to the creation of Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream Footwear with Pharrell Williams. Although he worked at BAPE until recently, he is now the creative director of Kenzo.
Not bad for someone who doesn't speak a word of English. It is known that they quarreled in 1949 and went their separate ways: Adolf on the side of the river in the Bavarian city, in his Adidas factory, and Rudolf established his commercial rival Puma. Their wave continued until their death, where they are buried as far apart as possible in the city's cemetery. Arguably, the three Adidas stripes are most famous and it is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe, and the success of West Germany with its football boots in the 1954 World Cup final helped the sports brand to become an international name.
And in 1967, Franz Beckenbauer's tracksuit took them beyond shoes to conventional sportswear. Adi Dassler died in 1978 when a lot of people thought urban style was in its infancy, and why are they on this list? Well, in 1986, Run-D, M, C released a song called My Adidas. And you can't say that hip-hop created a style of dress based on smart casual clothing and then ignore the fact that one of the most important groups of the 80s in that genre not only wore the brand, but sang about it without sponsorship or endorsement. Be part of this list by co-creating the Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream footwear with the founder of BAPE, NIGO.
Pharell has also worked with Louis Vuitton and Moncler on eyewear collections and has partnered with Adidas. Founded by the legendary designer Nigo, who is now creative director of the luxury brand Kenzo, BAPE is best known for its distinctive logo and for its iconic “cloud camouflage” print, which applies to all types of items, from hoodies and t-shirts to ties and pants. Once popular in 90s fashion in Tokyo, Undercover has become one of the most prominent and respected brands in the urban fashion industry. When you think of cutting-edge luxury sportswear brands or urban clothing, Nike is unlikely to be the first to come to mind.
Founded by the British James Jebbia, who had worked in the Stussy store in New York, it's fair to say that the iconic status of Supreme in New York is still the most talked about urban clothing brand, with its clever hype of limited-edition collections. The FA's roots in skating will always be embedded in the brand's DNA, and its current roster of professional skaters includes players like Anthony Van Engelen, Sean Pablo and Dill himself. The street style scene has come a long way since (supposedly) New York's first hip-hop rapper decided to drip comfortably with jeans, sneakers, t-shirts, baseball caps and flashy jewelry in the late 1970s to start a revolution in clothing and launch a thousand urban clothing brands. Maniere De Voir has been the most popular urban clothing brand in the United Kingdom for a few years and continues to grow, effortlessly combining contemporary designs with urban clothing worthy of a fashion week.
Their place on the list of the best urban clothing brands may be up for debate, but the quality of the workmanship of their jackets is not. With 19 stores around the world and famous carriers, such as street icons Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, BAPE is undoubtedly one of the most respected brands on this list. The favorite brand of all British schoolchildren was created by their friends Liam Greene and Aidy Lennox when they won a Facebook competition from Printing Firms. Having largely contributed to modern Japanese aesthetics, the brand is inspired by all areas of contemporary style, including workwear, military clothing, hiking clothing and motorcycle clothing.
The brand has a fun, colorful, unique and relaxed effect in every way, while some looks are straight out of 90s fashion. By combining the rugged quality of traditional Carhartt with a keen eye for contemporary design, WIP has earned a place as one of the best urban clothing brands on the planet. The problem with these editorials is that they practically cover the same iconic urban clothing brands in the United States over and over again. .