History and Influence of the Streetwear and Grunge Culture

Streetwear is more than fashion. It is a culture, a community that has evolved since the 70s and been inspired by the movement if musical genres like grunge and punk. From an anti fashion movement it is now mainstream fashion, from skating grounds to the streets of Calabasas, Streetwear is a statement. 

Over the past few decades, the popular fashion style has managed to create a place for itself in the higher tier of the fashion industry. In fact, it has become one of the most powerful fashion forces to be reckoned with.


 So, What Exactly is Streetwear? 

Streetwear, a byproduct of the hip-pop and skateboarding culture, finds inspiration in punk, indie, and of course, grudge. It has become all about choosing to wear tracksuit bottoms over jeans and celebrities opting and promoting athleisure over everything else. 

A stylish and contemporary way of dressing for the urban youth, streetwear has been associated with a preference for street sports, freelance dancing, alternative music, and alternative fashion. 

Plain or printed t-shirts with vibrant artwork, slogans, and graffiti lie at the core of streetwear fashion. Paired with a pair of sneakers and tapered ripped jeans, sweatpants, and joggers, t-shirts lie at the crux of the booming streetwear fashion. 


The History of Streetwear

With roots in the 1970s, streetwear initially began as a Californian fashion subculture especially curated for surfers and skateboarders who preferred relaxed forms of clothing. 

The person behind the inception of streetwear is Shawn Stussy- a surfboard manufacturer from the Laguna Beach in California- integrated the surf and skate culture into apparel by printing his distinguishable hand-crafted logo, originally printed on surfboards, onto t-shirts. These surfboards featured politically charged and satirical graffiti which fell in line with the rebel attitude of skateboarders who were mostly shunned by society.

The NYC-based brand, Supreme, started in 1994 to promote skateboard clothing, started to further the streetwear trend. Established by James Jebbia, the label gained a cult following that has successfully attracted an audience from all over the globe. By partnering and creating lines with the likes of Nike, A Bathing Ape, FILA, The North Face, and A.P.C, Supreme managed to move streetwear fashion from the outskirts to the mainstream. 

Soon, Japanese streetwear designers who catered to the Japanese pop culture started to take notice of this emerging form of fashion and churned out designs that were in line with the streetwear fashion. By the late 1990s, streetwear became the ultimate fashion movement in Europe and America.

Grunge Culture x Streetwear

The grunge culture was developed by Generation X- Americans born between the mid-1960s and early-1980s-a generation raised by hippies and influenced by hard rock, metal, and punk. Grudge fashion arose as a result of the economical upswing in the eighties. With capitalism on the rise, some individuals refused to accept the idea of different societal classes and were disgusted by the idea of human value being measured by monetary aspects, such as property, income, and social class. They rejected the idea of man serving as a machine, day in and day out, in useless 9-5 jobs. 

Their disdain of conformity and disregard for the status quo started to portray itself through fashion, mainly grunge styles of dressing. This included messy hair and makeup, loose clothing, faded and ripped jeans, pullovers, and combat boots. It was not long before grunge fashion started to blend into streetwear- a fashion movement originally started by skaters who discarded norms of society and were social outcasts. 

Grunge fashion was rooted in the idea of individuality and being recognized for words instead of mainstream work. It became a symbol of expression that was used to break out of the shackles of society. By incorporating retro and vintage styles of fashion, followers aimed to eliminate themselves from the pitfalls of capitalism.

Celebrity Influence on Present-Day Grunge Streetwear Culture

Flannel shirts have long been a part of the grunge culture. When grunge was introduced in the dreary weather of the northwest, flannel shirts became the go-to apparel because of their warmth, versatility, and ability to keep the wearer dry and comfortable. Soon, streetwear fashion took the reliable flannel shirt and converted it into a stylish work of art. Today, flannels are known as rare costumes that cost several dollars. Directly inspired by grunge, the streetwear fashion introduced different ways to style flannel shirts. Think: Kanye West, Nirvana, Travi$ Scott. 



Do you recall how back in the early '90s, tattoos were considered hard-core badass? Since there, a lot has changed. You'll find many musicians tattooed from head till toe sporting pants, sweats, or loose jeans that sit low along with champagne or gold-colored jewelry. Think: A$AP Rocky.



Back in the day, Lil' Wayne started to sample Kurt Cobain's love for leopard print in his streetwear style. Today, he has numerous facial tattoos and is seen wearing moon boots as part of his grunge streetwear fashion style.



Remember Eddie Vedder and his fellow Pearl Jam bandmates? These grunge OGs would always layer up with shorts under their leggings. Blame the uncertain weather in Seattle but today, their style has been adopted by the streetwear culture. Layering ultra-patterned and monochrome garments have all today become part of the grunge streetwear fashion style. 



Kurt Cobain once claimed, "There's nothing more comfortable than a cozy flower pattern." As someone who was fond of wearing dresses, Cobain was definitely the trendsetter as he encouraged others to get in touch with their feminine side. Today, the brand Supreme introduces floral pieces in their fashion line every year which are instantly sold out. 



John Lennon cannot be remembered without his round lens style of sunglasses. During his time, he might have been the only once but as grunge style started to gain more popularity in later years, the round lens saw a massive comeback. When Layne was leading Alice in Chains, he made the round lens style his own. Today, these glasses are part of high-end designer lines. 


The Future of Streetwear 

Hypebeast conducted a survey to understand the influence of streetwear culture and its future. The survey was divided into "consumer" and "industry" surveys and was taken by 40,000 readers- talk about an impressive sample size. The industry section targeted key players, companies, and well-established brands in the fashion industry while the consumer survey targeted a wider audience of customers likely to buy and wear grunge-inspired streetwear apparel. 

The survey found that Asian consumers are more likely to buy bulk streetwear from departmental stores while Japanese consumers spend the most per product. Korean and Chinese consumers reported spending the highest average on streetwear. When asked the reason behind the apparent consumer trends, Asians responded that streetwear was a political statement for them, while participants from Western countries cited the word "community" as a response. 

Brands like Adidas and Zara, and luxury labels like Off-White and Vetements have been considered popular streetwear providers. Approximately 50% of the participants said that they spend between $100-$500 on streetwear every month. 60% of the participants were inspired by the streetwear sneaker culture and said that they are more likely to invest in footwear. Industry respondents (high-end brands and departmental stores) reported that their sales see an even split between t-shirts, hoodies, and sneakers. 


 A report was later formulated which showed that approximately 70% of the consumers liked streetwear because it was considered cool while more than 57% considered comfort to be a key factor of streetwear. 

Now, does streetwear have a future? According to 76% of the respondents, streetwear will continue to significantly attract attention and grow over the next five years. Their view has been mirrored by big brands and luxury labels who believe that streetwear, especially grunge-inspired streetwear, has a lot of potential to make future fashion statements. 

LVGHARI x Eco-Friendly Grunge Inspired Streetwear  

Lvghari, an eco-friendly green brand, aims to further the streetwear fashion trend.

Our grunge streetwear line deals in graphic t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, sweatpants, and vivid tie-dye apparel. Click here to shop!