Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hood by Air, OFF White & Marcelo Burlon Elevate Streetwear into The Luxury Realm

Hood by Air SS14 Runway

There’s a feeling that modern streetwear is being priced out of the reach of the average cool kid on the street whose aesthetic codes and lifestyle has helped shape its image today. In the emerging streetwear business scene, the market and desire for products are unbelievable. A decade ago the leading streetwear labels Stussy, Supreme and A Bathing Ape sold tees for £35 on the average but with today’s new guard the likes of Hood by Air, Marcelo Burlon – County of Milan, Off White and Pyrex average pricing for tees are around £130.

Marcelo Burlon Creative Director of  Marcelo Burlon - County of Milan

The new streetwear guards Shayne Oliver of Hood by Air, Marcelo Burlon of his namesake label and Virgil Abloh of Pyrex and it’s extension OFF WHITE have moved streetwear to a new level of luxury-like pricing. All three of these creatives don’t consider themselves as designers, but are constantly influenced by fashion-forward output from designer brands like Raf Simons, Givenchy and more which they rework and translate. It is common place now to find the use of exotic materials like snakeskin or artisanal processes employed in the production of garments by this new class. These days it’s also highly likely that factories that make finished products for luxury brands also make for them.

Design isn’t the only thing Oliver, Burlon & Abloh have adapted. Their adept marketing and presentation skillset can be compared to what Luxury brands offer. They have applied celebrity endorsements to build hype which in turn they’ve exploited using new marketing tools like social media and the internet. Limited edition collections and rare to find pieces which were the mainstay for early streetwear marketing strategy have been sort of disregarded in favour of a more accessible approach which is only restricted literally by pricing. To give you an idea of the kind of reach it would be interesting to note that Marcelo Burlon – County of Milan has over 250 stockists worldwide whilst Hood by Air can be bought at over 90 retailers worldwide.

Another important marketing tool that has been explored is runway shows and the art of presentation. Last season Burlons Label was on the Catwalk during Pitti Uomo, Abloh’s OFF WHITE recently presented its collection at CIFF in Copenhagen whilst Oliver’s Hood by Air ended its 3 stage ss15 collection – which saw it show in Paris – at the MOMA gallery in New York. 


All of this has created a medium for youth culture to be repackaged, fused with a more luxe vibe and sold at a higher margin.

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