The movement is generally accepted to have been born out of the Los Angeles surf culture of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Brands included BlauGrun, Ocean Pacific, Hobie, Off Shore, Gotcha and Life’s a Beach. Local surfboard designer Shawn Stussy began selling printed T-shirts featuring the same trademark signature he placed on his custom surfboards. Initially selling the items from his own car, Stussy expanded sales to boutiques once popularity increased.

Style is a way to say Who You Are without Having to Speak

Stussy’s move into exclusive sales firmed up the baseline definition of streetwear: taking “a multi-faceted, subculturally diverse, Southern California lifestyle-based T-shirt brand and [mimicking] the limited feel of a high-end luxury brand….those are the two most integral components of what makes a brand streetwear: T-shirts and exclusivity.”

Early streetwear brands took inspiration from the DIY aesthetic of punk, new wave, heavy metal and later hip hop cultures. Established sportswear and fashion brands attached themselves to the emerging early 1980s hip hop scene such as Kangol and Adidas.

The mid to late 90’s saw the professional American sports franchises have a huge impact on the look of the scene, from the Los Angeles Raiders and Chicago Bulls caps and jackets in the early to the oversized team jerseys.

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