2016 was a solid year for streetwear. Check out our picks for the brands that really managed to shine these past 365 days.
Gosha Rubchinskiy – Rubchinskiy’s injection of distilled post-Soviet aesthetic into his high-fashion/skatewear hybrid experiment took 2016 by storm. Inspired formally by the skater youth culture of Russia and informally by the culture of Russia itself, you could find the Cyrillic Tommy Hilfiger-esque logo on the chests of many an influencer, artist or musician. Gosha’s rise to popularity is explained in detail in The Complete History of Gosha Rubchinskiy piece from earlier this year.
VLONE – Headed by A$AP Rocky, A$AP Bari and Edison Chen, VLONE was seemingly worn by every and any rapper in 2016. A$AP Mob was decked out in all VLONE everything for the Yamborghini video and that was the brands first major exposure into the mainstream. It’s popularity can be attributed largely to it’s very effective marketing but the meaning behind the brand is somewhat unusual in today’s rap climate given it’s existential cynicism i.e. “Live alone, die alone” – A$AP Bari.
ASSC – Anti Social Social Club first made waves when Kanye West was seen wearing one of their hoodies. Owned by designer Neek who has before worked with the likes of Stussy, the brand found itself making significant sales. ASSC was therefore plagued by problems such as poor customer service, long shipping times, and criticism on quality and lack of creativity. Up to this point, Neek hasn’t made anything for ASSC that goes beyond the minimalist use of it’s logo. And so far, that does not seem to be dissuading purchases whatsoever with drops continuing to sellout.
Off White – Virgil Abloh first made a name for himself from his creation of Pyrex and his work with Kanye West. Albeit already being into it’s third year of operation, his most recent fashion venture Off White continued to gain mainstream traction in 2016 among athletes and artists alike. Abloh’s success with this brand has not been as explosive and sudden as that of the others mentioned in this list, but nonetheless has guaranteed him a sizable fanbase.
Vetements – Arguably the most influential, polarizing, and vogue entity currently in the business, Vetements continues to shock and awe. Initially recognized as a result of it’s exuberant price point atypical for a new brand, its eccentric designs and near-satirical disregard for industry conventions now serve to define it’s legacy.
A notable recent example of such practice was the decision to push the delivery of their SS17 collection to June at the latest. This increases the product’s store life cycle while also making it easier for the factories producing it and reducing the need for discounting. Doing so reduced the lead time of the collection by four months. This required Demna Gvasalia and Guram Gvasalia, Head Designer and Chief Executive respectively, to take on the intimidating creative challenge of collaborating with 17 major brands for just one collection. If Vetements continues to make moves the way it did in 2016, 2017 will be more of the same greatness that the brand saw this year.