Collaboration for Active Living
Streetwear Strides into Urban and Travel Playgrounds this Season
Streetwear has been gaining ground in recent years by offering looks that represent the best of both worlds: high-level performance with signature designer creativity. French luxury brand Louis Vuitton ignited this new wave of collective collaboration of streetwear in 2017 when the company teamed with Supreme, once a small skateboarding brand in New York and now a billion-dollar asset. The development of street sports with luxury styling strengthened in 2018 when LVMH hired the late Virgil Abloh. Abloh was also artistic director of Off-White, regarded as the hottest label in the world.
Earlier this year the adidas x Gucci collaboration made headlines appearing on the runway during Fashion week in Milan. Traditionally worlds apart, but now collaborators, adidas x Gucci will likely be one of the most sought-after collections once it drops in June, especially with the creative input from Gucci’s Alessandro Michele.
VF Corporation is no stranger to bringing the textile knowledge and manufacturing know-how of the outdoors to luxury-level designs. The North Face initially teamed with Belgian designer, Martin Margiela, prior to working with two drop collections with Gucci.
The link between streetwear and the music scene and urban playgrounds is significant. Skateboarding, big on both sides of the pond, is something Louis Vuitton has tapped into with the launch of a skateboarding collection, signing professional skateboarder Lucien Clarke to oversee design.
For starters, long-established luxury houses have become stale in their offerings, and consumers’ demands have changed. Partnering with sports and outdoors brands gives designer labels street value, creating fresh collections that are more cool than old-school, and as such reach a new generation of consumers, comfortable with street style but into the designer names.
Spanish luxury brand Loewe is a case in point. Flagging at one point, Loewe was revived with the appointment of Jonathon Anderson. The British designer has injected a much needed 21st century creativity into the brand, elevated by Loewe’s quality production processes. Now comes the collaboration with On, the Swiss brand, known for its running shoes and expanding its range of shoes and performance apparel.
It isn’t just the luxury and designer brands developing the market. With sustainability an essential factor in business, the ‘buy better, buy less’ mood has been growing, and performance textile is a perfect area for this, delivering a high level of functionality and longevity.
Consumers want versatility from a garment. They want gear that will take them on the urban commute and look great in the office. They want an outer shell they can wear in the great outdoors that also won’t look out of place on a city trip. The fact that performance fabrics can adapt to all occasions as well as to adapt to the body’s requirements is key.
Despite some glitches, the travel market is making a comeback. For European travel, budget airlines are ‘de rigueur,’ with travelers hopping from one city to the next, exploring different cultures, and experiencing new environments. As a result, backpacks are trending.
VF Corp’s Eastpak, one of the most notable backpack brands in Europe, has started to collaborate with designers. First to launch is Eastpak x MM x Martin Margiela, with further collaborations on the horizon including Raf Simons, Vivienne Westwood, Kith and Neighborhood. Eastpak also relaunched into the U.S. market last November.
For textile suppliers the street and travel markets have huge potential. These days performance is a valuable asset for brands tapping into the collective active lifestyle market.
Street Sports Fall/Winter 2023/24
Over the last three years, the Street Sports category has soared at ISPO Textrends Award. Textile mills are increasingly aware of the importance of this sector, where they embrace the key trends of performance, functionality, and sustainability without neglecting creativity. Mills are also aware of the new brands crossing over from the fashion world, looking for performance fabrics to up their game, and create versatile collections for the 21st Century. For Fall/Winter 24/25, the Street Sports sector not only offered a higher level of visual creativity but also physical creativity, from fiber ingredients to structure. Singtex was awarded Best Product for the season, offering the right hand-feel, innovative structure and multi-performance and diversity, letting the wearer hit the urban street or walk the peaks on the weekend.
1. Stormega, a new patented technology of softshell and air layer combination to create a unique single-layer woven fabric. Dense weaving construction for durability and water resistance and 3D hollow layer to capture body heat. Light in weight, it has the right balance between breathability and wind resistance. The performance from STORMEGA is teamed up with Singtex’ patented technology S.Café adding waste coffee grounds into the yarn.
2. Eclat, Eclat Graphworks creates graphics to match style or attitude. Graphworks qualities outshine normal print, not just on a sustainable element with reduced water usage, but through combining shades and jacquard structures for boundless expression. Eclat Graphworks offers a rebellious spirit with futuristic digital design. Double-sided, the contrasting characteristics can be used for garment detail.
3. Toread, TIEF DRY intelligent moisture management scuba fabric, one-way humidifying, and antibacterial composite technology fabric specially created for runners. The new air layer small jacquard structure forms a 3D three-dimensional effect which is suitable for sports jackets. The smart one-way moisture transport technology can quickly wick away body sweat keeping the body comfortable and not sticky during exercise; at the same time, TiEF FRESH antibacterial finishing is added to maintain a fresh experience.
4. Newhemp’s hemp and organic cotton French Terry hits the spot, offering that ‘old school’ look with the latest sustainable solutions. Hemp is one of the natural fibers rising quickly in the sport and outdoor sector, as it sheds its industrial use through refined spinning.
5. NTX Cooltrans ripstop extreme light Polyamide fabric has superior hand-feel suitable for outerwear. The most state-of-art waterless coloration technology in the world with the lowest impact on the environment (according to Higgs Index). A waterless coloration process that also does not require heat to colorize natural, man-made, or synthetic substrates, delivering unparalleled rich, brilliant, deep colors which fully penetrate throughout the substrates, at ultra-high-resolution.