The Streetwear Standard: Americana Evolved

Levi Strauss & Co.
July 18, 2017

What is it that defines a typical American wardrobe in 2017? While the turnover of fashion and trends in the U.S. is constant, it’s definitely getting more street.

Fashionista recently posed the question of whether streetwear has become the new norm, based on the rise of what some have dubbed “spashion,” where athletic wear and fashion intersect. No doubt, those yoga pants, athleisure styles, jeans, standard tees and laid-back outfit piecing is what is currently driving the American fashion movement.

Throughout the years, an American wardrobe has always required two key elements: versatility and practicality.  In fact, workwear attire, which the Levi’s® brand helped define through its clothing for cowboys, farmers and miners, is still frequent in today’s fashion. Think flannels, utility shirts and, of course, denim.  This everlasting, classic style is depicted in heritage brands like ours and parallels vintage looks just as much as they satisfy the current trends of today.

It is that resurgence that is revitalizing heritage brands with contemporary relevance (see the evolution of the Levi’s® 501® jean, which turned 144 years old this year!).

“It’s pretty interesting how the icons of American style — jeans, T-shirts, hoodies — are often riffed upon by people outside of America, and that somehow reenergizes that garment,” Matt Sebra, Digital Style Director at GQ, told Fashionista. Luxury or designer collaborations with more accessible brands are a perfect example of this “riffing.”  Just last year, Vetements partnered with Levi’s® for a runway collaboration in Paris at haute couture fashion week.  Head designer, Demna Gvasalia, told The Cut that the idea behind the new line was “to take the iconic, the most recognizable product from their brand, and put it into a Vetements frame, whether in terms of shape or construction.”

So, between the merge of couture and heritage, the upswing of “spashion” and the varied takes on streetwear, is the true definition of Americana undefinable? Not necessarily.

At its very core, America is a place of individuality. “There is a lot of interesting variations because this country is not monocultural or monotonic,” Hazel Clark, fashion and design studies professor at Parsons, told Fashionista. “That’s what has been fascinating about this country in the last 100 years. It has been truly multicultural, multiethnic and multiracial and that is also embedded in different takes in Americana.”

Americana is, and has been for decades, rooted in practicality and wear-ability.  But true Americana is also defined by versatility – and by starting with a classic pair of blue jeans, the possibilities are endless.

Read the full story via Fashionista now.