I just spent the past 2 hours detailing a long-winded editorial piece on streetwear’s condition amidst the current economic downturn. And believe it or not, in 2 minutes, erased it all.
A few weeks back, Hypebeast asked me to answer a similarly-themed Q&A, but I failed to submit it in time, so I thought I’d voice my opinions on the blog. But as I sit here, backspacing over 750 words of recession digression, I realize that all I was doing was contributing to a greater problem, one in which the economy continues its spiraling malaise, churned by public fear, ignorance, and empty complaints.
I’m sure all of you are tired of hearing about it, so I’m not quite gonna go there. But I will say this. Times are tough, and times are getting worse. I’m not an economist, but from what I understand, this isn’t ending anytime soon. And so you will find that over the next year, your beloved Streetwear will start trimming the fat to survive. That means less stores, far fewer brands, reduced variety from your favorite labels. If you’ve been paying attention, you may have already started to notice it now. It’s Back to Basics, and not in a trend-forecasted “edgy” way, but out of a raw, desperate necessity. In 2009, it’s all about bare-bones, core, essential streetwear, minus the gratuitous fluff. (Which, if you’re seeing it my way, is a very good thing).
And so, for the sake of us, our peers in this industry, and fellow fans of the culture, it is up to you, the customer, to continue to support, encourage, and contribute to the craft. For the most part, streetwear is orchestrated by independents. We’re not cushy corporate honchos or veteran, spectacled businessmen behind mahogany desks. Most of us got into this because we were following a dream, that up ’til now has supported our livelihood… but as the financial ground dries up around us, it chokes the creative spirit that depended on it to survive, and thrive. And that’s where it comes back to you, the customer, to keep us breathing.
Because you see, streetwear has always been about the customer, the people. That’s where it started from and this economy is showing us that that is where it ends. It’s back to you, to make us relevant, cool, and at the very least, existent. And what do you get out of this? You will find us all working, thinking, and creating a lot harder to keep you engaged, dedicated to pushing ourselves and streetwear forward.
In the hopes that in the end, we will all win.