Fast Fashion, Streetwear, High Fashion: What’s the Difference?

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Fast Fashion, Streetwear, High Fashion: What’s the Difference?

Men's Streetwear

Letter If you’re reading this, you probably want to dress well. In fact, I’ll go one step further: if you’re reading this, you probably not only want to dress well, but also care how you do it. This is, of course, a double-edged sword. Once you start caring about how you dress, you open up Pandora’s box; not only is there the issue of individual clothing items and brands, but there are different, larger “strains” of clothing and brands—namely, fast fashion, streetwear and high fashion. If you’re looking for clarification, look no further — I’m going to break it down (or at least try to):

Fast Fashion: There was time when fast fashion was simply mimetic of larger trends, almost serving the role of knock-offs. That time is no longer. Some fast fashion brands (Zara always comes to mind) are at the forefront of fashion innovation and design and today are beginning to themselves carry some clout in the fashion world. However, there is a drawback. For selling at the price point they do, fast fashion labels need to compromise somewhere, and, in my opinion, it’s in the quality of the textiles. Things just won’t wear as long, and you might notice some mussing up a little faster than you otherwise would. But hey, it’s the price you pay.

There’s something to be said for Zara’s men’s line.

Streetwear: When I think of streetwear it’s hard for me to not image 1990s hip-hop, where the likes of me would surely not fit in, and early 2000s skateboarders. I would argue that neither of those demographics drive the streetwear scene today. Companies such as Supreme, Billionaire Boys Club and Stüssy have developed cult followings outside of traditional streetwear demographics and have been leaving their mark on the fashion world. Today, collaborations with up and coming fine artists (a lá Deerdana and Richardson) have been providing a whole new dimension to clothing, blurring the lines between fashion and museum-worthy imagery. But it’s not all sunshine and roses. Streetwear, being the cult attraction that it is, still commands a certain reputation — perhaps one that isn’t all good. While a lot of fun, it does lend itself to those who are maybe a little too “niche market” oriented.

Streetwear companies such as Supreme will invoke pop-culture in a lot of their clothing and marketing.


Ready-to-Wear High Fashion Brands: We all know the names. Gucci, Prada, Burberry — they all have reputations that demand notice. And that’s not always a good thing. While some of these fashion houses are home to some of the most iconic looks in history, you can spot the looks from a mile away. Taking their easy recognition into consideration, the well known price point that these clothes come at also becomes a factor. That’s a plus for some, but I’d argue that that is one of the major turn-offs of high fashion. I want to look good, but I have a tough time getting my head around that fact that, depending on what I wear, the price of my clothes becomes a bigger talking point than the styles themselves. With that said, the quality of the clothes themselves is undeniable. It’s rare that these clothes don’t last years, making some of these pieces real investments.

Everyone knows what a Burberry trench coat looks like

– Jacob Barnes

Images courtesy of: Pasar-PasarRUNTC, The Fashionisto, and Art Partner.

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