Our 5 Favourite Streetwear Brands Out Of USA Right Now
It's hard not to be excited by what brands and labels are doing elsewhere, especially in the fashion mecca that is America. Having been the birthing ground for so many iconic brands such as Supreme, The Hundreds, Primitive, Crooks and Castles and more, America remains committed to streetwear, with mashes of culture and people being attributed to a melting pot of creativity. Whether it's a skateboarding background or internet meme culture, the references and designs are becoming more relevant to the times, with brands more aware than ever of the marketplace.
Obviously Los Angeles and New York City are still the pioneers in terms of cities that produce brands of substance and quality - it's also hard not to mention the growth of scaled luxury brands such as Amiri, Off-White and Rhude but we'll stick to the smaller OG offering of t-shirts and hoodies first.
With the growing beast of social media it seems that there is a new brand or label on the block every day, so we've taken the time to pick out five of our favourite brands right now:
A name no doubt familiar to many readers, Pleasures is the punk-infused product of Alex James. The former design director for Publish Brand – also known as one of the progenitors of the jogging pant craze – James left Publish after 6 years at the helm to launch Pleasures in 2015. Seeking to explore James’ youthful love for the punk and heavy metal scenes he grew up listening to in New Jersey, Pleasures is known for its impactful, and at times impolite, graphics, and is the label responsible for such Instagram-perfect pieces as that ‘A Girl Is A Gun’ t-shirt you’ve likely seen floating around on some celebrity or edgy influencer.
Although some may question the integrity of James’ output, his ability to tune in, and arguably create, current trends, as well as a talent for striking, surreal graphics, ensures Pleasures is a label we will continue to watch this year. Available from Parlour and Good As Gold.
A former student of Parsons and design consultant for such industry heavyweights as Ronnie Fieg, Mike Cherman launched Chinatown Market at Collette at the end of 2016. Drawings its inspiration from New York City’s infamous Canal Street bootlegs, Chinatown Market has seen an explosion of interest since its launch, built on the back of timely retro references and a decidedly tongue-in-cheek sense of humour. Personal favourites are ‘The Office’ and ‘Pork Store’ tees from the recent collaboration with Packer Shoes, pieces that pay homage to legendary HBO show The Sopranos by way of graphics featuring the neon 'Bada Bing' club sign, as well as that of 'Satriale’s' pork store.
There are some who would accuse Cherman’s designs of cultural appropriation – if you can consider bootlegging bootlegs to be ‘appropriation’ – but regardless of whether or not that holds true, it is undeniable that Chinatown Market is a brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and one that has honed in on a cynical generation’s love for referential, self-aware fashion. Available from Chinatown Market's webstore.
Easily my favourite of the four, LA based Disco Tuesdays hit the scene in 2017 with a range of streetwear staples, “inspired by the youth culture elements of experimentation, colourful clothing and the Golden Era’s infamous Studio 54”. While it generally pays to be wary of any brand touting the words ‘youth culture’, Disco Tuesdays eschews the tired formula of edgy wordplay and esoteric graphics in favour of designs that are simple, memorable, and incredibly desirable. I was lucky enough to scoop one of the last ‘Disco Wonderland’ tee shirts from Barney's for an absurdly low price, and it’s already become one of my favourites.
And though their current offering may be small, its strength assures that I will be watching, and collecting, Disco Tuesdays for the foreseeable future. Available from Checks Downtown.
Undoubtedly the most well known label on the list, Stampd has become something of an institution in the LA streetwear scene, amassing collaborations with other LA locals like Guillermo Andrade’s 424 on Fairfax, as well as streetwear legends Bape. Founded in 2011 by Chris Stamp, Stampd has come a long way from a company that started out selling snapbacks, establishing itself at the forefront of West Coast streetwear through a savvy blend of hip hop, surfing, and sportswear inspirations. Though I wouldn’t go so far as to call it ‘avant street’ as some do, there is no denying that Stampd is one of the biggest, and newest, names in streetwear, and with a diverse product offering ranging from sweatpants and distressed denim to camp collar shirts and velour track jackets, Stampd truly has something to satisfy all tastes.
For those in the market for well-made, well-priced clothing, look no further than Stampd – and make sure to check out their recent collaboration with Ikea to put that minimalist street touch on your space. Available from Knowear and Stampd.
Menace Los Angeles
Menace is a Los Angeles based brand created by Steven Mena in 2013. Menace combines dark elements from Los Angeles street culture such as guns and violence, a direct contrast to the stereotype of the sunny Californian paradise. Menace bring inspiration from aspects in their daily life as well as global street styles and present them in their own unique gritty manner.
Menace is still a small independent company growing steadily each year by staying true to their roots. Everything is made locally in LA, and their use of guerrilla tactics combined with their D.I.Y aesthetic has seen success globally. They are now recognised as a brand who has interesting perspectives on different issues, giving deeper meaning to their products while also focussing on quality and authenticity. Available via the Menace webstore.
Written by Nick Ainge-Roy.