When Streetwear Goes Corporate

If you’re perusing this site, there’s a good chance you love (or at least have a passing interest in) streetcar. Sneakers and streetwear seem to go hand-in-hand. If you love a dope pair of kicks, then you probably have a dope t-shirt and hat to go with them.

However, streetwear isn’t the same it always was. It’s becoming more and more commercial and mainstream, as cool stuff tends to do. This leads to some interesting questions. A lot of streetwear is based on being “real” or “authentic” to a certain set or subculture of people. The question that must be asked as some brands become bigger and bigger is if they’re still authentic to their roots, and if they’re still worth wearing.

Let’s start out with a heavy hitter: Diamond Supply Co. One of the best streetwear brands of the 00’s, they churned out everything from great graphic t-shirts to desirable shoe collabs. Now, you can find them in every Zumiez and Pac Sun in every mall in America. The designs are not as inspired as they used to be, and the company has lost its cool factor. Most people over the age of 18 who are “in the know” about streetwear flat-out won’t wear it anymore.

This is an example of a brand that has gone corporate. Sure, they’re making money hand over fist, but they’re not exclusive anymore. On the flip side, let’s look at Billionaire Boys Club.

A very expensive boutique-only brand in the 00’s, BBC has become much more widely available, stocked on several e-commerce sites and even at places like Off Saks Fifth and Haute Look. However, the higher price points keep it somewhat exclusive….and the designs are different enough season to season to keep the brand relevant.

So there’s a right and a wrong way to expand in the streetwear game. Owners of brands that have gone fully mainstream probably don’t care as they’re making money hand over fist, but it’s always a little sad to see a brand that was once great be relegated to middle-of the mall sale racks.

Oh well. Such is life.


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