Brand Identity Ensures Success: With the massive success of Supreme and Off-White, more brands look to jump on the bandwagon of fashion streetwear. However, it is crucial to first establish an authentic identity with critical brand positioning to stand out in the competition.
Off-White’s status as the hottest brand in Lyst Index Q3 2018, surpassing Gucci and Balenciaga, was validated by high sell-out analysed. Its vast assortment with stylised “quotes” and “quotation marks” continues to be desirable for its uniqueness. A Bathing Ape enjoys similar success with its iconic ape and camo prints, leading to its 100% sell-out rate reported (Chart 2).
Meanwhile, Vetements under Demna Gvasalia struggled to entice consumers with 60% of its products discounted – leading to sales driven mainly by discounts. Gvasalia also helms Balenciaga, which is a more popular brand than Vetements.
Streetwear Tailing Fashion: Streetwear is becoming less of a subculture but more of a commercial juggernaut. This is evident from its seasonal drops to the high fashion influences, as well as the tailored-style dominance over SS19 and FW19 fashion runways.
Innovation Matters: The lacklustre performance by Vetements proved that streetwear brands are not able to retain success solely based on hype around scarcity and collaborations. For the past year, Vetements’ success was primarily defined by partnerships, including Vetements x Reebok collection, but it lacked overall newness (Chart 2 showed the brand had the least new-in rate).
Frequent drops would be meaningless if the products launched were uninventive, especially at a time when consumers continue to seek originality and novelty. Furthermore, with streetwear retailing at premium price points, reissuing similar styles without new iterations would be deemed unjustifiable by the consumers.
Slowing Down on Streetwear Styles: The shift towards tailored silhouettes on the recent runway shows could change the design direction and offerings of streetwear on the retail front. This perspective seals the enormous influence of fashion and commercialism on streetwear.
Fashion brands planning to launch or build streetwear inspired capsules should reflect on the shift, as the immediate future might not deliver the same positive impact that it did to streetwear over the recent years.