The slouchy unkempt California surfer-skateboarder look has been around for the last five decades. From Vans to Supremes, the way we value casual style has evolved much like fashion. Take something simple, brand it, and add a few zeroes to the cash register.
What do Julius Babao, Vice Ganda and Ernest Cu have in common? They wear brands that form a constellation that, whether you like it or not, conspires to define popular contemporary taste. Supreme, a brand these three wear, is an American skateboarding shop and clothing brand established in New York City in April 1994. The brand caters to the skateboarding, hip-hop, and rock subcultures, as well as the youth culture in general. It produces clothes and accessories, apart from manufacturing skateboards. Its merchandise are sold extensively in the secondary market. In 2017, Supreme pulled off what was once unthinkable with its collaboration with luxury house Louis Vuitton. Today, clothing done with Supreme are the firmament of street wear (granted it is real, of course.)
Another brand that recently made its mark in Manila is that of Milanese creative designer and businessman Virgil Abloh, Off-white. In 2012, Off-White clothing was seen everywhere, sported by another constellation of stars: Rihanna, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Drake, Justin Bieber, A$AP Rocky, Serena Williams, Hardwell, Travis Scott, Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner, Halsey, Camila Cabello, Gigi and Bella Hadid. Jappy Gonzalez’ Univers and Homme et Femme launched the branch at 8 Rockwell to queues reminiscent of food rationing. The line this morning was peopled with nerdy looking types lingering by Wild Flour. But hey, congratulations to a winner!
Streetwear is increasingly ubiquitous, thanks to its ongoing infiltration into the world of high-end style. The idea of streetwear itself is tricky to define as it is used to describe a confluence of trends—there’s the luxury velour LV in-your-face athletic wear on one hand, and on the other, looks pioneered by skateboarders, punk rockers and 1980s rappers. Another facet of this trend is the ukay-ukay look—composed of discount store over-runs (think Target and Marshalls). All told, streetstyle is about the elements of thrift-shop archivists and streetwear, the core components of which you probably already own, the elements of street wear being: a] the hoodie, b] the t-shirt, c] the cap, d] the joggers, and e] the sneakers. The challenge is how to make a mature person look good in this style.
Can you pull it off? Of course you can. What matters is that it makes you look good, and not like some DOM from The Sopranos, or dude flexers from Jersey Shore.
The key to mature streetwear is edit, edit, edit. Sorry guys, you may have to rethink investing in some Supreme and Off- White. If you head to Jappy, you will find the same designer streetwear aesthetic in pieces from Martin Margiela in tamer styles. For the joggers, the more appropriate alternative I would recommend—that is if you have yet to max out your Centurion—is the new look from Thom Browne, or go for the soft washable Zegna. Regarding the sneakers, you can handle that yourself, but please no platform Balenciagas. Just to avoid tripping down the Rockwell elevator.
Shirts are always cool statements, but here I advise to avoid the screaming logos and to stick to classics. Uniqlo offers a wide range. Also, invest in a hoodie you can use over and over. There are many brands to choose from.
Age is matter of style. Look at Iris Apfel. The female peacock version of the guys at Pitti Uomo, but more fabulous. In her late 90s, she is a style goddess, and, despite piling on prints and colors and textures, she looks awesome. Style is about attitude. And finding the right balance. If you want to take on the streetwear casualness trend, invest in slimming clothing, with that one item that will balloon. Like a Moncler Hoodie or, ok, something from Off-White.
Which reminds me: the streetwear look is also about a silhouette, which is a combination of a slouchy, roomy piece, and a slimmer companion item.
Which brings us to the bigger issue: Is age really just a number? Yes, very much so. These days, to label anyone old is simply unkind. We are simply more experienced. We are all Peter Pans, after all; eternally mischievous yet looking for never ending youth. If you think you can infuse your wardrobe with a little youth culture to keep you cheery on your off days, go ahead and spend for it.
Just another word of advice: piling on whatever is trendy can be a major clusterf__k. Put on what makes you comfortable, and keep a safe distance from looking like a fashion fan boy. Youth springs eternal—if managed with a sense of style.