The UK has long been a leader of fashion. But, the street wear industry seems to have become increasingly stale, plagued with the same old style of taking a bog standard garment and plastering it with branding. There’s some hope though. Superdry Clothing busted down the door back in 2004 when their first stores opened in London. Now, this multi-million pound brand is on the London Stock exchange with a very healthy looking share price. So, just what is it that makes this clothes brand stand out?
I think it’s down to Superdry clothing having a core approach to street wear, a much more native understanding of the attitudes of the people who wear it. Defining street wear is difficult; it’s mainly because it’s the people who define it, there are just so many nuances. Bottom line, street wear is a very broad category used to describe clothing which provides an alternative to more mainstream pop-culture brands; it is a distinctive style of fashion. Individuality being is key component.
Instead of conforming to contemporary fashions, young entrepreneurs put their own ideas onto custom t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats for themselves and their friends. To a large extent that activity is still going on but is hidden deeper underground. With roots in skateboarding and the ‘skate wear’ of the 1980s, street wear became adopted as an urban fashion and has since grown into the massive international industry it is now.
Interesting then, since the industry started because people were tired of the same old boring look, that it’s become as stagnant as the fashions it once rebelled against. Could this be down to the influence of the mega-brands with more focus on profits over individuality? That’s exactly what I have been thinking for quite some time. The industry is now so big that it’s attracted the attention of big business. The creativity is still there I’m sure, it’s just that those still defining it are hard to see past the enormity of the bigger fashion labels.
I can’t describe to you what a relief Superdry clothing is. Finally, a brand with a clear and distinctive look. One that can stand up to the big names in the clothes industry. One that I want to support. My only concern is, now they’ve become a public company, will they ultimately end up going the same way as the other big labels? I certainly hope not. What exactly is it I like about the clothes? It’s that Superdry clothing provides a good mix within its ever growing clothing range; a happy balance where the branding is not in your face, the clothes speak for themselves and it’s the clothes that define the brand not the logo.
This is exactly what I want from a clothing brand. I’ve grown out of the plain (cheap) cotton tee with a massive printed logo. I want something smart but casual, functional but fashionable. And I don’t want to look like a walking billboard. It’s about damn time then, that someone like Julian Dunkerton, co-founder of the Superdry clothing company, stepped up to the plate and brought street wear back to its senses. We can only hope that more labels find their way back to their roots.