Written by Zlaata Fashion


Posted on March 16 2024

Wassup our soon-to-be streetwear gang! Are you hooked on to all things street just like we are? We’re talking about the What’s, Where’s and How’s of streetwear. But let’s be real - keeping track of all that went down can get difficult. But don’t you worry, cause we’re here to save the day with a compact guide into the start, the rise and the genres of streetwear. 

Whether you’re a veterinarian in this style or a newbie - we’re about to open up a treasure chest of information that you can share with your friends from the streets. But before that, don’t miss out on the fortune cookie we have at the end to upgrade your street style. Now let’s get this guide going!


Lots of people might try to box in streetwear, slap a label on it, but it's way deeper than just another fashion trend. It’s a culture and a lifestyle choice rather than a fashion statement. 

Streetwear tends to be a hybrid between high and low fashion styles; think Burberry coats with Hip-Hop cargos or rocking luxury logos on skate gear. To loosely define it, it’s fashionable yet casual clothing, worn by the followers of pop-culture. Pinning down streetwear can be tricky as it grabs bits and pieces from Hip-Hop, Skateboarding, Surfing, Pop culture, Athletic wear, Military/Work wear, Partywear, Punk, K-Pop music and much more. You ask us who are the fans of this style? Well, they range from diverse walks of life, spanning across different income groups, socioeconomic statuses, and every corner of the globe. 



Yet once again, the actual origins of streetwear fashion are debatable. There are several different factors that gave rise to this style in the 1970’s.

Many say that streetwear was a ‘Surf and Skate’ inspired moment, with a very DIY aesthetic. One of the most popular cult icons being, Shawn Stussy, who sold printed Tees that featured the same trademark style he placed on his custom surfboards. The DIY culture has found its way to the present, with people relying on it to express their individual personality.

According to Hiroshi Fujiwara’s, a prominent DJ, known for influencing the streetwear scene in Japan felt the origins were as follows:

“If you’re talking about the origins, then I think what we call street fashion now has naturally flowed on from skateboarding; but the current reality is different. It feels like a sneaker culture now; sneakers and hip-hop culture have become the street culture.”


One of the other origin stories emerged from when the traditional brands from the 80s and 90s refused to dress a particular set of Artists, Musicians, Sportsperson, etc; and this gave a rise to a section of people that curated looks for themselves as an act of self-expression. 

And for a few others, it was the rise of the anti-cultural Punk Rock scene that encouraged artists to produce their own fashion styles; much like their music. 

But no cap, there's no one ‘right’ answer to where it all began – it kinda just came together differently everywhere. But we can take a guess and catch a glimpse of where the roots might've kicked off.


As there are more than one origin points of Streetwear, there are several sub-genres that have emerged. With different regions and cultural groups having their own variation of this style; and it can get crazy to follow each one. We bring to you a broken down list to make it easier for you to charge into the world of streetwear. 

Skate Style

Originally took off in California, where skateboarding became all the hype when surfers were having an off-season. Thus borrowing strongly from America's Casual Surfer Style  - Easy breezy graphic tees, baseball hats, wide leg shorts, and obviously the well known skate sneakers: Vans. A relaxed personalised look that’s comfortable is what comes closest to the original streetwear fashion. Brands like Vans, Dickies, Stussy, Carhartt, Huf, Girl,Converse, and many more are the go-to for skate style fashion.

This reminds us of the film ‘Back To The Future’; where Marty McFly skated around creating chaos in his retro inspired streetwear look, a style you could easily identify - Bomber jacket with slick denim jeans and sneakers. 


Techwear or Athleisure Wear

Bringing to you a balance between style and function, this high-performance technical streetwear style is on point for outdoorsy and sporty vibes. It rocks an urban style inspired by military vests and cargo pants, using luxe fabrics in neutral shades like black and grey. Originally seen as sports gear, celebs and influencers took it to the streets.

Techwear’s big players like Nike’s collab with Acronym founder Errolson Hugh to come up with Nike ACG or Adidas Y-3 taking inspiration from Yohji Yamamoto’s signature styles are iconic examples of mainstream entry. Brands such as Patagonia, Outlier, C.P Company, White Mountaineering, and more cater to the techwear spectrum.

Heads-up though, most techwear can take a hit on the wallet as they use high quality materials and Sleek yet functional silhouettes. Hardshell jackets being one of them along with being one of the key pieces of this style. Opting and styling techwear that is affordable can be tricky but can keep your wallet thick when you’re starting off. Mixing and matching basic pieces from brands like Uniqlo, Nike, Adidas, etc can be key to achieving your final look. For example: Layering up a thin hoodie underneath a thrifted windbreaker jacket can achieve the hardshell jacket look for cheap.


Hypebeast / High Fashion/ The OG’s

“Gucci, Fendi, Prada and that Louis, now I'm hotter

So it's Tom Ford and Armani, YSL, I'm fly as hell”

50 Cents did get it right with his ‘Burner On Me’ lyrics! 

Hypebeast, High Fashion or The OG, call it whatever you want - but this influential style has been repped by the GOAT’s - A$AP Rocky, Future, Kanye West, Lil Pump, Frank Ocean, Badshah, Guru Randhawa, etc. 

The Hypebeast brands give way to products that are exclusive, scarce and in high demand creating a buzz among the traditional luxury shoppers. Embodied by designer logo wear and catchy patterns on classic streetwear pieces like sweatpants, graphic tees, and sneakers can be classified under luxury streetwear. There are tons of luxury brands like Gucci, Prada, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton incorporating streetwear in their runway looks and brands like Supreme, B.A.P.E, Off-White, Palace, Yeezy, Fear of God are a few that have a cult-like following. 

As these brands can take a cut into your wallet, people prefer compiling their style with pieces from H&M, Urban Outfitters and even thrift stores, for a more budgeted look. 


Modern / Adopted Streetwear

These ones were late to the party and created out of necessity for affordable and simple streetwear for everyone. Modern streetwear brands like Zlaata Fashion, Bewakoof, Souled Store, Urban Monkey, Bonkers Corner, Midnight Law, Capsul are some of the retailers for the same.



Streetwear in India though a niche market is low-key booming among the Gen Z’ers. With the sneaker culture blowing up, and with collabs between brands and influencers for exclusive drops are on the rise; there’s a boom in the market. Also, easy access to global streetwear brands and trends is giving way to homegrown brands. And let’s not forget - ‘Gully Boy’ was among the first to pave the way as an inspiration to street culture.

Now to wind this down and treat you to your fortune cookie, you might wonder how to identify your street style. We would suggest that it’s best to look-up and get inspired by different cultural aspects such as Hip-Hop, Punk, Rap, or from different cities globally or even from music artists and existing designers. Pin down what describes your personality best; be it Minimal or Maximal, Oversized or Fitted, Layered or Sleek. 

Buy, Borrow, Thrift or Exchange - try it all out to nail down your go-to street look and don’t sleep on helping your friends level up and lock down their street style with the help of this guide.