Best Streetwear Brands of 2018
What is streetwear and who are the designers
It’s highly debated what the origins of streetwear are. Some say the skate and surf culture gave it life. Others give credit hip-hop and punk rock music. Many agree that the best streetwear brands and culture contain all the above. WealthHunters explains streetwear as “casual clothing that typically reflects, and identifies with, niche urban subcultures and their associated lifestyle.” Staying in line with that, here are our picks for the Best Streetwear Brands of 2018!
Streetwear designers use their talents to create original stories for consumers to wear. Originality for a streetwear designer, however, cannot be without the influence of other arts and activities. These include, but are not limited to, graffiti, dance, music, sports, and everyday city life. The backgrounds of these designers reflect the various views that make up the entrepreneurial spirit that still attracts millions today.
WealthHunter’s Top 9 Best Streetwear Brands of 2018 consists of designers with a personal story and various influences that are combined to shape a modern fashion culture like no other. Check out their stories and see if your favorite streetwear brand made the best streetwear brands list of 2018.
Rhude founder Rhuigi Villaseñor came to the U.S. from the Philippines when he was 11. He turned to design because he “couldn’t afford the clothes I wanted.” In 2012, Villaseñor made a black and white bandana T-shirt as an ode to West Coast culture. Rapper Kendrick Lamar wore the shirt a year later at the BET Awards and the rest was history. Villaseñor continued his winning streak by creating collections of hoodies, shirts, socks, and pants.
Similar to Villaseñor’s humble upbringing, Rhude also has humble roots. To get his start, Villaseñor worked for free for other designers, consulted, and assisted with creation. Once he gained the confidence he needed to follow his own entrepreneurial spirit, Rhude was born. Within a short amount of time, outlets like Complex have deemed Rhude as one of L.A.’s best streetwear brands. Today, with a popular collection and large following, Villaseñor still keeps his team small. In addition, he makes smart business moves by collaborating with influencers of all backgrounds to push the Rhude brand. It’s not everyday that a designer can say an award recipient wore his brand at the Pulitzer Prize Award ceremony.
Australian designer Daniel Patrick masterfully weaves his inspiration and love of clothing with his athletic background. Patrick was always fascinated with fashion, but growing up he placed his focus on rugby. Patrick eventually had the chance to play professionally; however, he took the road less traveled and enrolled in fashion school. Throughout this new journey, Patrick traveled periodically to New York and Los Angeles. On these visits, he immersed himself in the different cultures that the cities offered. He discovered his love for streetwear and decided to begin his own streetwear brand in 2009.
Combining sports with music and the cities he grew fond of, Patrick created a streetwear brand like no other. With a minimalism approach, Patrick’s best sellers consist of militant-like hoodies and basic black T-shirts with a retro element. Patrick continues to create trendsetting fashion for men and women alike, using materials from Los Angeles where he is headquartered.
424 ON FAIRFAX
Guatemalan designer Guillermo Andrade’s fashion is street. New York City to him, especially the grime of rap fashion, contained the ultimate statements while growing up. Even as a Cali boy, New York lifestyles influenced his art. Andrade infuses his love for the Wu-Tang Clan and New York City obsession into his fashion. 424 on Fairfax is a platform he co-created to showcase his line, as well as new talent. Andrade is the ultimate “shoot-your-shot” designer who isn’t afraid to share the stage with hungry amateurs. He is humble enough to let others shine and even let them add flavor to his line.
Andrade came up with a streetwear brand that is forward thinking by grabbing from the past and then infusing it with designers of the future. He is inspired by everyday social and political issues, using uncomfortable messages as bold screen-prints with a red armband that has become his signature fashion statement. A streetwear brand with strong statements and strong collaborations with other designers, is 424 on Fairfax.
BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB
“I’m a nice dude, with some nice dreams; See these ice cubes, see these Ice Creams?” This lyric by songwriter Pharrell Williams brilliantly rapped in Snoop Dogg’s 2004 number one hit “Drop it Like It’s Hot.” The following year, Pharrell announced his Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Creams clothes and shoes line, respectively. Along with Japanese designer and music producer Nigo, BBC launched at the end of 2005. As the first American on the list, Pharrell hails from Virginia Beach, VA and is recognized for his hit songs. Also known as Skateboard P, Pharrell is arguably responsible for mixing skateboarding culture with hip-hop.
In 2013, Pharrell, Jay-Z and Nas created a song entitled “BBC,” which is a tribute to streetwear culture. With lines referencing unlaced Adidas, Fila sweats, mock necks, polo fleece, and bomber jackets, the song praises the fashion from their respective neighborhoods. From the young kids to the drug dealers, streetwear was more than a fashion statement, it was and still is a way of life in urban America. Today, Ranker lists the brand at number 5 on their best streetwear brands list and it continues to flourish. The BBC line contains major elements of hip-hop paying homage to the late Notorious B.I.G and collaborating with other clothing lines like Yeezy and Adidas.
Living through the LA Riots and gang violence of the 1990s, Spanto, co-founder of streetwear brand BornxRaised, put his life and story into his clothing. Deemed as one of the nation’s best streetwear brands, Spanto’s streetwear brand is about his message first. Spanto expresses that he wasn’t “put on this earth to do streetwear, I was put on this earth to deliver a message.” This strong message is about the gentrification of his neighborhood of Venice, CA, and it becoming unrecognizable.
Spanto’s message of being erased and replaced is the story of many Americans. He brilliantly uses fashion as his outlet to uniquely send messages not just to his consumers but to the world. BornxRaised’s collection consists of jackets, hoodies, and t-shirts in black, white, or neon. The company also works with film, using mostly African-American and Latinx individuals as models. Spanto’s way of telling his story through fashion is what makes him a unique streetwear designer.
With a shopping catalog that contains more “Sold Out” symbols than concert venues, Cherry LA remains a mystery. Established in 2017 and with limited products, Cherry is supported by celebrities like Wiz Khalifa and their ideas prove valuable when they were recently stolen. As a result, the founders use the tagline: Protect Your Cherry.
An LA streetwear brand to the core, Cherry’s trademark product, the T-Hoodie – a T-shirt sewn into a hoodie – and its use of red in almost all their products, woven together with a minimalistic marketing approach, is the new blueprint for streetwear brands alike. A string of pop-up stores and a strong Social Media push helps Cherry move to the forefront of streetwear culture. Cherry consistently appears on “best streetwear brands to watch” lists and we agree.
In 1984, Shawn Stüssy started the Stüssy apparel line with friend Frank Sinatra Jr. in Southern California. He was a surf and skateboard manufacturer with his logo on his products. Being considered as a streetwear pioneer, his transition into apparel and accessories was the next organic move to expand the Stüssy brand. The painter’s cap with the Stüssy logo is still the most recognizable piece of the collection. Fashion writer Jian DeLeon declared, “The Stüssy style did to clothing what hip-hop did to music: creating something new and fresh by sampling the familiar.” This formula continued throughout the ‘90s with Stüssy using his surfing influence to create fresh designs.
The wins continued until the industry took a shift into a more urban appeal, leaving brands such as FUBU and Mecca to dominate the streetwear space. The company was at a crossroads and decided that a re-branding was necessary. The company implemented a “brand-first, revenue second” focus and it worked. Today, Stüssy remains one of the best streetwear brands because the name stays connected with its loyal fans. In addition, the feeling of exclusivity keeps the brand going strong. Collaboration is also important to Stüssy’s culture and works with companies like Union Los Angeles and Urban Outfitters. Social Media and the mobility that the Internet provides brought Stüssy into the 21st Century.
“It’s not just cotton, it’s communication,” co-founder Bobby Kim described The Hundreds streetwear clothes on the company’s 15-year anniversary. Kim declared, “If there’s any way to mark [the] milestone, it’s maybe in our tees. Over the last decade and a half, we’ve designed at least 2,000 unique graphics, and produced over 4,000,000 individual shirts. The graphic T-shirt was the first item we made, our bread and butter that’s sustained our longevity, and our core storytelling piece in every collection. I never looked at T-shirts as clothing, I viewed them as a billboard, a call to action, as media, and a platform.”
With an emphasis of valuing people over product, the LA-based company collaborates with other brands to push their message. As stated in one of their Instagram posts: “The Hundreds is both rap and rock, East Coast and West. It’s skateboarding, it’s gang culture, the inspirations sweep across decades and subcultures.” Sticking to strict streetwear tradition, The Hundreds brand pulls from familiar inspirations to consistently create something fresh and nostalgic for their loyal audience.
DIAMOND SUPPLY CO.
In 1998, Nicholas Tershay created Diamond Supply Co. in his one bedroom San Francisco apartment. Two years later, Tershay moved to Los Angeles and grew his streetwear clothing line attracting skateboarders to his creations. Hard work paid off when Nike called and convinced him to create his own signature Nike SB shoe. This once in a lifetime opportunity was a turning point for Tershay when many praised his SB shoe as the best Nike SB of all-time.
Soon after, the Diamond Supply Co. opened stores across the country and continues to be a staple in skating circles. The company collaborates with rappers like Lil’ Wayne and Bun B and consistently finds its way onto best streetwear brands lists. This attention is important in integrating two different cultures like hip-hop and skating. The giant streetwear brand focuses on clothing, shoes, accessories, and especially skateboarding goods while remaining loyal to the culture that it helped shape.
After reading the best streetwear brands of 2018, did your favorite one make the list? Do you have your own list? Let us know what you think and check out how to create your own streetwear brand.