It’s been nearly 60 years since Yves Saint Laurent looked around the streets of Paris and felt a society-shifting change in the air, one that would bring youth and ease into fashion like never before. His vision proved prescient over the subsequent decades as he released everything from the mini skirt to sneakers as acceptable office attire. More than just shorthand for the kinds of clothes people wear on a daily basis, what is now considered streetwear has its roots in both the California skate culture of the late 20th century and the groundbreaking style propagated by a host of talented black artists coming out of cities like New York. The line has blurred beyond recognition with brands like Supreme, whose drops are more anticipated than just about any runway show and who has managed to collaborate with fashion conglomerates. Even brands recognized worldwide for a particular kind of sexed-up glamour like Versace have undergone rapid makeovers to embrace everything from leggings to sweatshirts to track pants.

But more than evolving with the times, these changes represent the industry’s larger uncertainties. With the tide of store closures increasing over the past few years and the positions of some of the industry’s most powerful editorial figures in question, fashion is largely chasing its tail to attract whatever customers it can despite what appear to be changes in spending habits for younger generations. As a result, design regurgitators like Virgil Abloh and Hedi Slimane are now appointed to some of the most vaunted positions in some of fashion’s most revered houses. These brands have pursued hype in the hope that relevancy will rub off on them and, for a time, it most likely will, but the intense glare can make even the most talented crack. With these people in charge recycling styles already long in circulation, fashion cannot take us briskly into the future.

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