By PJ Regole
Clearly there is no way to definitively name a top ten in order, especially during a time in which so many emerging brands are releasing so many pieces at a rate I wish my wallet could keep up with. With a large amount of bias, here is what I believe to be the top 10 streetwear brands in 2017.
Kith has only been around since 2011. Ronnie Fieg grew up in New York and has been involved with footwear his whole life. While working his way up the ranks at different shoe retailers, he eventually decided to start abrand of his own. With that, Kith was born, and has been blowing up ever since. They have since collaborated with almost every major shoe company, producing heavily sought-after products release after release. If they stay on this path, they could one day be fighting for a top spot on this list.
OK, I know – Jordan is owned by Nike. However, Jordan’s past has earned him the right to be considered its own brand. Michael Jordan launched this brand initially as his own line of basketball shoes and inadvertently changed the sneaker game forever. It is arguable that no other shoe brand has ever had the kind of impact as his line of 33 different silhouettes. That being said, they are starting to decline in popularity as another brand (Adidas) is having its time in the limelight, which is why Jordan has dropped down to No. 9.
Stüssy has been around since 1980, and is a mainstream success. Sold at popular retailers such as Zumiez and Tilly’s, anybody can get their hands on some merchandise. This mainstream success has kept them relevant for years and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere any time soon
Many believed that Nike was falling in popularity at the same rate as Jordan, but they have been revived by a few different factors. One is that they still manufacture some of the most beloved sporting goods and therefore have many big name athletes endorsing them. The second factor is their recent collaborations. Before Vlone, a brand that would have easily made this list a few months ago, was forced to cut ties with Nike regarding legal issues, they put out one of the hottest collabs of the summer. Most recently, Nike worked with Off-White (see top 5) to put out 10 different model shoes in the biggest release from any brand in 2017.
As bad as I wanted to put Vans in the top 5, they just aren’t quite as hype as the next five. However, they may be the most timeless on this entire list. After all, what other $50-$60 dollar sneaker do you see A list celebrities wearing on a regular basis? They’re just classic, man.
Started by visionary Virgil Abloh, Off-White has been gaining traction since it was founded. At first, products were only available in limited online releases as well as pop-up stores. Their first store, in Hong Kong, was opened in the last quarter of 2014. Since then, it has only increased in popularity, having a profound effect on street fashion and music.
In my opinion, Palace should be ranked No.1. Founded in London by a group of skaters who started out as some hood rats shredding up the streets of London, founder Lev Tanju has been putting out quality streetwear while staying true to his roots. Palace has done many collaborations with sportswear giant Adidas. Their lines are mainly ’90s inspired with a modern twist, drawing the likes of all ages. “I love seeing Dads come in with their sons, ’cause they wanna be cool at work,” Tanju said.
Bape is a classic streetwear brand that has been around since the ’90s. The unique camo pattern with ape heads intertwined gained traction fairly quickly, becoming a mainstream success by the mid-2000s. Musicians such as Soulja Boy and Chris Brown represented the brand, making them popular to much of the streetwear culture. While some of these brands are only worth exorbitant resale prices due to limited items, Bape has combined limited releases with designer brand quality to make a product many see worthy of the high price tag.
Adidas has risen to power fairly recently through the power of Kanye West. His “Yeezy Boost” line including 350, 350 v2, 700 and 750 models have transformed sneaker culture. Nobody wants to wear Jordans any more because the sock-resembling sneakers Adidas now is releasing are just too clean. Pair this with their new, super-comfy boost technology, and Adidas has become the shoe retailer others are trying to match.
As bad as I don’t want to be the guy calling Supreme the greatest streetwear brand, it is the hottest thing out in 2017. If you aren’t awake with your credit card info saved to your computer within 30 seconds of any weekly release, you’re lucky to get a couple of scraps. Though the quality can fall short of other brands on this list, limited releases paired with the hype surrounding the brand, its iconic “box logo” T-shirts and hoodies are arguably the most sought-after pieces of clothing on the market, reselling at outrageous prices.