Streetwear’s Current Status

Jack Engel, Section Editor

Streetwear is one of America’s most profitable, yet hidden industries. Streetwear combines exclusivity with designer clothing. Companies like Supreme, Off-White, and Palace are a few of the many leaders within the Industry. Their formula for their success is simple, low quantity equals high demand, people tend to want what other people can’t have. 

These companies will release the clothing in what’s a “drop”. A drop is a release of those very companies seasonal clothing, however, once that clothing is dropped, it’s never replicated. This is what drives the industry: exclusivity. On the day of a drop, companies will release most of the stock on their websites, with another smaller quantity that gets released in select stores. Customers often prepare for this by programming bots to automatically buy the merchandise when it drops, while others end up camping outside of stores. Once all preparations are made and the clothing is released, and customers go crazy!

This was the routine of the industry until COVID-19 made its entrance. COVID-19 particularly impacted one of the hubs of streetwear manufacturing: Italy. Once COVID-19 began rapidly spreading across Italy, all of the factories began closing. This in turn meant that the streetwear industry had to take a pause. However, this “pause” has had a large impact on companies and their respective outsourcers. The industry has seen an increase in brands shutting down due to the tight schedule of these companies. 

Typically, once a drop is released, the company begins working on the next one. Right now, these brands are surviving on past drops’ revenue, unaware of the next time they will be able to release a new collection. Not only are these brands feeling the negative effects of the pandemic, but the small business stores that the brands outsourced to are beginning to close their doors due to the lack of product in-store. It is imperative now, more than ever, to support small,  local businesses.