StreetWHERE? TIMELINE: PART III
by L.I.M. | February 5, 2012
This is the final segment of a three-part series taking a look back at our roots – the history of streetwear.
PART III: JAPAN
Other than hip-hop and forerunner brands such as Stussy, there was one more fundamental factor for modern streetwear: Japan.
Japan has long been open to foreign influences. From the moment Perry forced Japan to sign an open-trade agreement with the USA in the 1850’s, Japan has been influenced by the States. Actually, more than influenced, historically, Japan has loved Western influences. Like jazz, Japan embraced streetwear and transformed it into their own.
An obsession with American fashion brought over paramount streetwear brands like Stussy, Fresh Jive over to Japan in the 80’s and 90’s. However, as the movement started to take root, Japanese fashion designers created their own interpretation to streetwear, giving rise to brands such as BAPE, Undercover, and Visvim. For example, Visvim is a high-end Japanese brand particularly known for their footwear. Put bluntly, many of their most prominent models are Converse reproductions. However, Visvim’s obsession with quality and art-form has created world-wide popularity, allowing their Converse “knock-offs” to stand proud. Like Visvim, Japanese artisans also brought raw denim to the next level by creating selvage jeans with an unparalleled level of quality and detail.
Finally, Japan’s high quality and detailed obsessed streetwear also formed a niche within the subculture of streetwear: haute couture. Japanese’s brands came with a price tag to match its level of quality. All these trends melded together to form streetwear as we know it now. Loud, brash, and unapologetic in its individuality.