For long, luxe and street culture have been walking their own pasts.
Born in the 70’s in the suburbs of big American cities, street culture are with no doubt the biggest art revolution since Marcel Duchamp.
What start with graffiti on the wall of Philadelphia building in the 60’s is now the driving sales force of the cultural economy.
Hip-Hop, a major change
Born in the block parties of New York’s underground, hip-hop or gangsta rap made a massive change far more than mixing funk and soul. Firstly they gave a voice to the street, in NY for a start, but its been a tsunami all around the world, in a decade, almost every European country had their own rap culture. The soaring of the rap is in opposition to the unemployment curve, and more the youth standard of living was going down more the rap music was making his seat among the others conventional style.
Far more than music
Rap music as well as street arts, is a way of life, a way of dress. This very way of dress has evolved over the years and decades. When the first rappers became famous, making a display of their wealthy way of life was a priority, that’s how « Bling-Bling » was born. For long considered ostentatious and not classy, it was a brake at the incorporation of street culture in luxury.
Marc Jacobs as a pioneer
In 2001, Marc Jacobs ask grapher Stephe Sprouse to create pattern for a new range of bag « monogrammes graffiti », this is a success the concept will be remade by 2 times (2007, 2009). Hermes, will do the same with its famous « carré » with a special limited edition called « GRAPH » in partnership with Kongo. This how a long series of partnership between rappers and luxury brands took place : Jay-Z and Hennessy; Rihanna x Chopard (2017), Adidas x Kanye West, etc.
It doesn’t stop to celebrity as streetwear company had collaborate with luxury brand (Supreme x Louis Vuitton, H&M x Lanvin).
Why luxury meet the street ?
For century, luxury have been a wall between those who can and those who cannot. But social media have changed everything. There was a time when you seen this classy woman on the streets with her big fur coat and that smart hat you wish to be like her. Now that is happening on instagram, facebook, twitter. The mode are changing as fast as a twist can be send and this exactly where luxury brands have fallen behind that is exactly where street culture had his win. Most influencers come from that culture and show it to all of their followers everyday.
Cause luxury is made to be lust and seen more than to be wear, luxury brand had to bend.