As we looked back into the history of streetwear we traced the beginning back to Shawn Stussy, the local surfboard shaper of Laguna Beach. His logo began of the surfboards that he shaped until 1980 when he translated it to T-shirts. These became instantly popular with all the local skaters and grew to worldwide fame from there. Perhaps the most amazing thing that came of Stussy is what makes streetwear what it is today, which is even as the popularity grows is seems to remain as something underground. Many have attributed this to how streetwear has became a subculture, one that emphasizes that the independents rule. The most popular streetwear sites, stores, and brands have steered away from being bought out by million dollar corporations making it mainstream. Even numerous botiques are phasing out the large corporate brands, while keeping their support to the independent brands.
Shawn Stussy started the movement of the surfer from California expressing himself through his clothes, which led to the hip-hop culture getting involved. In that time period the African Americans had no voice in the media nor were they being marketed to. Fashion was used as a from of art, expression, and communication. Without mainstream media, this underground movement marketed itself through the droves of individuals with their street clothes. Hip-Hop encouraged all to self expression and that is what streetwear has become, the clothing maker expresses something they feel but when you put it on it becomes you. Something that you have to say.
All though the surf, skate, and hip-hop community all had their roots in streetwear. Japan emerged on the scene in the 1980's as well. The Japanese youth wanted everthing American, however, by the early 1990's they were helping pioneer the way to what Streetwear has become. Brands like BAPE and Real Mad Hectic became trendsetters by coming out with limited edition apparel, with background stories, and very high pricepoints. These factors led to obsessive followings, where many claim Asia/Japan get all the great sneakers and apparel.
These three movements have continued to progress into what streetwear is today but streetwear finds its roots in these movements. Movements that have been led by a non-mainstream subculture of self expression and individuality. Huge numbers of people find brands that are not even marketed heavily, creating the streetwear phenomenon that we live in today.