Where Streetwear Is Headed - A Close-up In 14 Brands

Streetwear today is almost unrecognizable compared to how the scene got started. Hundreds of companies have stepped up to put their spin on an elusive formula for success; very few have made it™️. Here’s a look at some of the top brands that made streetwear in their own image.

by Rebecca IvancevicFebruary 27, 2019, 12:50 PM


#1 Supreme

Where would this list be without them? Unrivaled masters of the hype drop, Supreme reigns supreme to such an extent that there’s a mailing list for when their website isn’t down. The tightest distribution you can get, the freshest merch ideas and their resolute commitment to the skatewear and lifestyle lane have made them the kings of an era.


#2 Balenciaga

Balenciaga wasn’t considered streetwear just a few years ago, but their decision to break into the scene is to thank (or to blame, depending on taste) for the chunky Triple S sneakers everybody’s copping right now. Compared to other brands in this list, they literally just got started (in 2015) and they’re changing the game already.


#3 Nike

Nike was already sprinting when the starting gun got fired, and they’ve not fallen behind since. Sportswear through and through, Nike’s sneakers, sponsorships and smart collabs created the hype that morphed athletic clothes into streetwear in the first place.


#4 Undefeated

UNDFTD opened its doors in LA in 2002 and quickly carved out a niche in the premium sneaker market. Now they produce a whole range of own streetwear, so well respected they can get away with four different equally unmistakable logos.


#5 Undercover

The one country whose aesthetic has made an impact on streetwear that rivals the USA’s? Japan. And Jun Takahashi’s Undercover was there from the beginning, in his and BAPE founder Nigo’s Urahara store - the legendary NOWHERE. Undercover’s punk-influenced, print-adorned pieces defined Japanese streetwear’s origins, and they’re as dope as ever today.


#6 Carhartt

A traditional US streetwear brand, Carhartt has been going steady since 1994. They’re not giving fashionistas any heart attacks, but that’s simultaneously their strength: Carhartt is classic, cool, and fits in any fit you want to put together.



#7 A-COLD-WALL*

A-COLD-WALL* is an award-winning London fashion label founded in 2015. Their fusing of haute couture with functional, working-wear garments seeks to revolutionize everyday clothing itself, and promises to take streetwear in mind-bending new directions.


#8 Heron Preston

Heron Preston is a modern polymath: artist, director, designer and DJ. He got his start in the BEEN TRILL collective alongside friend Virgil Abloh, and now has his own label and signature aesthetic: orange and black, with a touch of technical. He’s on right now.


#9 OBEY

OBEY OBEY OBEY. Shepard Fairey blew up putting They Live-inspired stickers all over town, just looking for art-school fame. Whether spinning it into a full line of streetwear capitalizing on his surprise viral success is a good critique or not, it was smart business - and the clothes are dope.


#10 BBC

Pharrell Williams and Nigo founded Billionaire Boys Club as a premium streetwear label in 2005. By 2011 it had been acquired by Jay-Z himself. That’s success. The label’s pieces are invariably high quality, perfect for color-blocking, and draw on upper class sportswear more often than street lifestyle.


#11 The North Face

Technical performance clothing has a long history in streetwear. No wonder, The North Face’s jackets, coats, and caps, engineered for skiing, snowboarding and climbing, have regularly come into fashion on the street corner as well.


#12 Alyx

Based in New York, produced in Italy - Alyx is high fashion x streetwear. Fresh silhouettes and subtle prints on otherwise familiar items, Alyx is breathing new life into classic pieces, his bags with their signature buckles the source of a lot of hype in particular.


#13 Ader Error

A Korean brand, just launched at the end of 2014, Ader Error is contemporary and minimalist. They claim to be inspired by the everyday and to want to spread art and culture through fashion - and they’re already making waves with their Puma collaborations.


#14 Off-White

Classmate and collaborator of Kanye West, now Louis Vuitton creative director, everyone’s excited by Off-White founder and creative director Virgil Abloh, which is why he closes out this list. Off-White’s sharp lines, post-internet prints and bold details are iconic already. Where the Milan-based haute couture streetwear label will take things next is the question on everybody’s lips.