Streetwear, Highsnobiety and the ethical fashion movement

Last night, I attended the launch of streetwear gatekeepers Highsnobiety’s first book launch. It got me thinking about the ways in which the culture of early streetwear parallels today’s ethical fashion movement.

At their purest, streetwear movements have allowed participants to express what they believe through what they wear. As Highsnobiety editor Jian put it, “There is a reverence for brands, designers and the stories behind products. That has come from decades of communities both online and offline. Of people united by a shared love of product...There’s always been people who are galvanized by a shared love of things." The relaxed look of 70's skatewear, for example, was a rebellion against the overly conservative norms of the 60's.

The ethical fashion movement allows those of us who are frustrated with society's lack of response to climate change and human exploitation to take back a degree of control on how our clothes are made. Individually we may not have the power to change the entire system but the decision to wear ethically-minded brands is a way for us to outwardly express our disquiet in the hopes of inspiring a more conscious society across the board. 

In recent years the commercialisation of streetwear has led some to say it has lost its edge. Wearing skatewear today is less about making a rebel statement and more about fitting in with the crowd. Go to a skatepark and you'll see that some of that 90's self expression seems to have been lost in a sea of Supreme and Dickies t-shirts. 

Skate culture went mainstream and it's an encouraging thought to think that the ethical fashion movement could do too. As the movement grows we must ensure it stays true to its values. 

Jonathan Mitchell,
Brothers We Stand Founder

Thanks to Karlo Wild for taking the video.