can the streets still influence fashion?

Westwood perfected punk, Marc Jacobs glamourised grunge, Calvin Klein made heroin chic, and Gaultier brought the club to the catwalk. We hit up our designer friends and family to find out if the streets really still influence fashion, and if so how?

by i-D Team
05 November 2013, 11:55am

Nina Manandhar

"Absolutely! Fashion is reality. Even dreams have to be translated into reality. Urban and sportswear are what people want; this is what we're working on. It's all to do with dynamism, working and being in action all the time. Even an evening dress or haute couture have to become very real and urban." Riccardo Tisci, Givenchy

"The answer to this question has changed considerably in the last decade. Fashion is on the streets faster than ever, and the streets have, more than ever, a direct and quick access to fashion. There's now the possibility of a much more integrated dialogue between fashion and its audience and vice versa. I don't know if it's an influence, it's rather a much more direct energy that you may choose to avail yourself of or not." Raf Simons, Dior

"I think that streetwear, and more specifically, youth culture is, and has always been, a great influence on fashion. I can't say I take the tube to work anymore, but I'm constantly inspired by how kids wear clothes and put things together in a fresh and exciting way." Tom Ford

"The street seems to have become the internet, and so many people are speaking on it at the same time. I personally haven't been able to hear anyone clearly for a long time… But maybe I'm not on the street the way I used to be…" Rick Owens

"Unfortunately, I don't think the street influences fashion the way it used to. Nowadays everyone is so self-conscious, and often dress more uniformly. The volume of information available on the internet tells us what's happening everywhere in the world, which doesn't help us to be that individual. Probably the biggest influence from the street is a handful of the alternative dressers from fashion colleges or interesting icons from the past." Paul Smith

"It's cool to get outside the fashion world to see how people outside the system do their thing. Fashion sometimes has a way of homogenising a crowd with a similar look. Everyone is in the newest blah, blah, blah. It's cool to see characters doing their own thing. We find endless inspiration in that. New York street sounds like such a cliché today, but really, it still holds up." Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, Proenza Schouler

"With fashion becoming more and more homogenised, and with the general population, if not all, shopping in the same shops then at least looking at rails of similar garments, what we see, and what resonates with us and works within our aesthetic, are people who stand out. It has always been our motto to offer both humour and colour in our collections, and we admire people who push through the sea of black, grey and drab with their very own style. To us it's like seeing family - a belonging, a connection. These influencers are on the streets all over the world, the haves and have-nots from all areas covering all ages, and often their way of dressing - even just a minute detail - will trigger something in us collectively." Sibling

"In the potpourri of influences in designer collections, fashion from here and now is maybe the most important. Without street fashion, clothes have no real meaning." Stephen Jones

"Yes! Because the triumph of the individual will always remain an inspiration to the human spirit!" Jeremy Scott

"I believe it does. I think all fashion becomes slightly irrelevant if it has no connection to the world. 'The street' can be a term used for a broader influence than just watching what people are wearing in Shoreditch these days. It's a connection to the world. I find that street mentality very much influences my work. These days it's this way of dressing in groups that has really influenced my work - how a gang of guys can still create a mood either in the way they brand themselves, talk, move and dress, or [with] their body physics. For a long time everybody wanted to express individuality, but the guys I look at find so much power within their groups of belonging, and it really sets them apart." Astrid Andersen

"Individuality really begins on the streets; it's about a person telling a story and channelling their personality through their clothing. That will always be a powerful catalyst when it comes to inspiration, because it's the truest way to curate fashion outside a fashion show or a magazine. We have so many online sources that allow that image to be communicated back to designers, so the whole process of creation is really more of a circle now." Mary Katrantzou

"Kate and I are very inspired by the beach near Santa Cruz - the town The Lost Boys was filmed in - where we grew up surrounded by an eclectic community of people. Our memories of all of these people and places shaped the way we think creatively, challenging us to be designers who see the process of design as an individual journey rather than a collective statement." Laura Mulleavy, Rodarte

"Everyone seems to be chasing their tails, clambering for something new like they're waiting for it to happen. How to get fame and fortune fast seems to be in predominance, so everything appears to translate as rehash with no real substance. If the hang-up about getting something new changes back into creating something from a nucleolus of fresh ideas, then there's a chance the lacklustre of constantly looking backwards could find a new direction and move forward again." Pam Hogg

"Street style influences fashion just as humans influence other humans. I believe fashion is a product of the environment around us. Even if the clothing is rebelling against or opposing what we see, it's still a reaction to our condition. Without people there would be no clothing, without the body clothing would serve no purpose." Claire Barrow

"The streets will always influence fashion. Fashion is about interpretation and creativity. Unless everyone decides to wear nothing but regulation uniforms, there will always be [inspiration] from the streets." Henry Holland

"If the music scene and street fashion can work together to start a powerful new movement, it'll have a positive influence on fashion. Unfortunately these days, new music genres don't seem to have much connection with fashion. Since both fashion and music are an adaptation or a mixture of the past, maybe we just have to wait for a new turning point." Jun Takahashi, Undercover

"Street influence became world influence. The unstoppable tsunami of news and images of facts, events and happenings in our world, in all different fields, are permanent inputs into our heads. Fashion designers are the catalysts, and our collections do reflect what the world is telling us and how we experience this moment. 'DREAM THE WORLD AWAKE.'" Walter Van Beirendonck

"This mostly happens in a strong way when there's a movement, like the hip hop culture, techno music, women's lib or the free-floating 60s. I can't predict the next collective hype, but I can see how the street is continually editing what fashion proposes. Right now I notice a tendency for less provocative clothing, a desire for looking grown-up and composed. In cities like Berlin there are so many young designers that the line between street and design is almost blurred. People turn to personal vintage, things from their parents or items they find on faraway travels. Individuality seems to be a trend, and it provides ideas for new proportions, colour matching and all kinds of things." Jil Sander

"It's obviously getting harder and harder, because street style has become contrived and controlled, but outside these environments you can find some of the most inspiring people." J.W. Anderson

"Yes, they can. Streets are super dreamy, but I often need a good few seasons to digest what's happening, then make it my own.The Boombox era is my 80s - open lesson number one on the East End clubbing scene! Hottie Freja Beha never goes wrong in her uniform of Balenciaga and Rick Owens. The Dalston bag lady with the latest Fendi trolley will always ambiguously flash her knickers! Do you know Edie and Cara ditched Chanel Couture for Glastonbury's sexy mud? Supreme and Bathing Ape will remain every Asian teenager's wet dreams! Last but not least, my fellow Fashion East gang Happy Ashley Land - aka funkyoffish's - international 90s rehash and Blaire Carrow's lionhearted Do-It-Yourself Kingsland Road punk spirit. These are a few of my favourite things!" Ryan Lo 


Text i-D Team
Photography Nina Manandhar

Tom Ford
street style
Vivienne Westwood
Rick Owens
Raf Simons
Paul Smith
Nina Manandhar