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Top 11 streetwear brands for men that are worth the hype

With comparatively limited outfit options available, making a statement can often become tricky for men. But thanks to streetwear, the dynamics of men’s fashion have forever changed. Quirky, flamboyant and gender-neutral — streetwear is perfect for anyone who loves to up their style game with minimal effort.

A very casual style of clothing, streetwear originated in the 1980s. The Californian skate culture, Japanese, street punk fashion, hip-hop culture and athleisure fortified the evolution of this style. What began as a favourite of skateboarders and baseballers has transformed into a lot more over time.

Today, comfortable T-shirts with striking graphic elements, stylish sneakers, versatile hoodies and accessories like bags and caps are some key elements of streetwear adopted by men across the globe. Streetwear clothing is mostly made of fabrics like corduroy, canvas, velvet and premium cotton.

Inspired by people and their stories, streetwear lends a distinctive look to its followers. With brands mostly producing only a limited number of pieces per collection, uniqueness is one of the markers of this subculture. You can find their influences in original, sportswear, adopted, and luxury styles.

Check out these 11 top streetwear brands for men

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The contemporary streetwear scene would be incomplete if not for Californian surfer Shawn Stüssy’s eponymous brand. Often considered the greatest streetwear label of all time, Stüssy had humble beginnings in the 1980s when the young designer scrawled his surname on his handcrafted surfboards with a marker pen. The iconic logo was thus born. It was later incorporated into the T-shirts, caps, hoodies and shorts from the brand that he sold out of his car around Laguna Beach in California.

Graphic T-shirts from Stüssy deserve special mention for their progressive design details. A brand well embraced by punk and other subcultures, it is also widely accepted in the hip-hop and skateboarding/surfer scenes.

Even though Shawn left the label in 1996, to focus on his family, it remains one of the most sought-after streetwear brands, thanks to its collaborations over the years.

Image credit: Stüssy

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The New York-based brand was launched in 1994 by James Jebbia. What started off as a street shop on Lafayette Street in downtown Manhattan, soon took over as one of the most influential streetwear labels with their exclusive drops.  

The store, which was initially run by a staff made up of New York skaters, local artists, and kids, revolutionised streetwear commerce with a limited supply of products. The process ensured their hype caught up with the global fashion scene.

Men’s graphic tees, hoodies, joggers and shorts from the brand are popular. 

Image credit: Supreme

NEIGHBORHOOD is designer Shinsuke Takizawa’s brainchild. The popular Japanese brand, founded in 1994, was a significant part of the ‘Ura-Harajuku’ or ‘Ura-Hara’ movement.  

Ura Hara is an old street in Harajuku, Japan that became the hub of amalgamation of Western and local art, ideas and fashion. Takizawa, who worked as a designer at the record label Major Force in Harajuku in 1980, was also influenced by London’s punk rock subculture around that time. NEIGHBORHOOD was born on these streets from Takizawa’s conviction to create his own label that blends classic and modern elements.  

We can see a lot of unique interpretations of elements from motorcycles, military, outdoor, trad, etc. in NEIGHBORHOOD’s collections. Supreme quality, meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship make the brand iconic.  

Image credit: NEIGHBORHOOD 

Popularly known as BAPE, A Bathing Ape is another Japanese streetwear brand known for its unconventional and bold design elements. Founded in Ura Harajuku in 1933 by DJ and fashion designer Tomoaki Nagao aka Nigo, BAPE has vibrant designs.  

The brand rose to popularity in the 2000s with hip-hop stars like Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams and Lil Wayne embracing the label. BAPE is notable for featuring characters from Marvel comics characters, DC Comics and Nintendo.  

Image credit: BAPE

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The Japanese streetwear brand WTAPS — pronounced as double taps — was founded by Tetsu Nishiyama aka Tet in Tokyo in 1996. Yet another brand influenced by the famed Harajuku streets, WTAPS is known for its military-inspired clothing with a special emphasis on functionality.

WTAPS’ Jungle stock shirts, jeans, design T-shirts, M-65s military jackets and Ye aka Kanye West-approved collaborations with Vans are some of the notable pieces from the brand.  

Tet had also founded the streetwear label FPAR (FORTY PERCENT AGAINST RIGHTS) and served as a creative director at NEIGHBORHOOD.  

Image credit: WTAPS

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Although Adidas is not one of the first names that come to mind when one thinks of streetwear, their stylish sneakers make them an inseparable part of the culture.   

Founded by Adolf Dassler in 1949, the brand launched Adidas USA in 1986 after recognising its potential in the American sportswear market. The basketball shoe from the brand rose to popularity as the iconic Superstar sneaker. It made its mark in the streetwear scene when the US hip-hop group, Run DMC, added Adidas to their signature look.

Additionally, their iconic sportswear range of hoodies, T-shirts, jeans, jackets and jerseys are some integral elements you can add to your closet for a sportswear-inspired street style.  

Image credit: Adidas

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Founded by Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman in 1964, the Oregonian brand Nike has emerged as a key player in street fashion over the years. Comfortable and durable, Nike sneakers with the unmissable swoosh logo have ruled men’s fashion for a long time.  

The Nike Air Max 1, Nike Air Force 1, Dunk, Air Jordans and several other models are here to stay. Other than sneakers, Nike also produces T-shirts, jerseys, jeans, shorts, jackets, hoodies and sweatshirts. With consumers majorly from basketball and running athletes, Nike is also a key player in making sports equipment. 

Image credit: Nike

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An Italian brand founded by American designer Virgil Abloh in 2013, Off-White has carved a niche for itself in the fashion world. Famous for its designs based on typography and contrasting white and black palettes, the brand is a pioneer of luxury streetwear. So much so that after Abloh was named the artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, LVMH announced that it would take a 60% stake in Off-White in 2021.

From T-shirts, activewear, bottom wear, and jackets, to the iconic yellow belt with the brand’s name, Off-White must be your go-to for everything quirky and refined.

Image credit: Off-White

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Noah was created by designer Brendon Babenzion after his stint at the famed streetwear brand Supreme. With special emphasis on sustainability, the brand encourages people to buy clothes of better quality that will last longer, rather than indulging in fast fashion.  

The label produces some of the much sought-after styles in hoodies, shorts, jackets, logo T-shirts and caps. Noah has to its collection peppier pieces that draw inspiration from skateboarding, graffiti, hardcore punk, and hip-hop.

Image credit: Noah

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Started in 2009 by Lev Tanju, Palace is the epitome of London’s skate scene. With the famed tri-ferg famed logo, the label attracts global youth. The brand was named after a dilapidated Waterloo skate house called “Palace” by its frequenters.  

Palace has created a distinct space in men’s streetwear fashion by producing sporty yet aesthetic T-shirts, tracksuits, jackets, hoodies, baseball caps and jackets. It is also known for its association with major brands like Adidas and Reebok. With its trademark trendy graphical motifs and hipster designs in durable material, the label generates much hype.

Image credit: Palace

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Based out of Zurich, Switzerland, Vetements was founded by Demna Gvasalia, the creative head of Balenciaga. The brand creates apparel in premium fabric featuring novel designs. Combining runway fashion with street style, Vetements has some of the most unique T-shirts, jackets, shorts, shoes and accessories out there.  

Celebrities like Celine Dion, Kanye West, Kendall Jenner and Rihanna can often be spotted in pieces by this label. The brand has also collaborated with DHL, Umbro and Tommy Hilfiger.

Image credit: Vetements

(Hero & Featured Image Credit: Budgeron Bach/Pexels)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: How should men wear cropped pants?

Answer: The right fit and size are the most important things to consider. An ideal cropped pant should have tapered legs and a rising hemline between one to three inches. Ankle-length socks, invisible socks or sockets work best with cropped pants. You can pair them with sneakers, espadrilles and even boots. An oxford shirt with a jumper or a tweed blazer and long-sleeved check shirt for a formal look can be tried. You can also pair them with T-shirts and hoodies along with loafers, flip flops or pumps for a more casual look.

Question: What should I wear with black shoes?

Answer: You should pair your black shoes with jeans, chinos, jersey shorts and even denim shorts.

Question: From where can I buy streetwear?

Answer: You can purchase streetwear from online stores of reputed brands. Good pieces are also available on e-commerce shopping websites like Amazon, Farfetch, MR PORTER, END, SSENSE. Popular streetwear brands also have retail outlets across the globe from where you can purchase authentic items.

Question: What can I wear with grey pants?

Answer: You can style grey pants formally by pairing them with black, white, navy and burgundy-coloured shirts. For a casual look, pair T-shirts with grey jeans, joggers and chinos.

Question: How should I wear a beanie?

Answer: You should wear a beanie according to your hair length. If you have long hair, opt for a cuffless beanie that sits high on your forehead. However, if you have curly hair, you can go for slouch or high-top beanies. Men with short hair should opt for close-fitting beanies.

Question: How can I style my Stan Smiths?

Answer: The versatile yet comfy sneakers, Stan Smiths, look dapper when paired with oxford dress shirt and chinos, T-shirt and jeans or a tank top and shorts.

Question: What should I wear my grey tee with?

Answer: Grey T-shirts look best when paired with black pants. For a more unconventional style try green, teal or khaki pants. You can also pair them with a light blue denim.

Question: How should I style wide-leg pants?

Answer: Wide-leg pants work well with a fitted crew neck T-shirt. You can also style them in a blazer or a cropped jacket. For a street-style look, pair them with oversized sweatshirts and hoodies.

Question: How should I layer clothes?

Answer: While layering clothes, keep a few pointers in mind. Never overdo as it kills the look. Go by wearing thinner clothes inside and thicker ones outside. You can wear light colours inside and bright colours outside for a safe look. While layering, style each layer individually so that every element stays fashionable even if separated from the whole look.

Question: How to rock a zip vest?

Answer: Wear a zip vest over a buttoned shirt with a collar. It also goes well with a jacket or blazer.

Top 11 streetwear brands for men that are worth the hype

A journalist with a penchant for lifestyle stories, Amrutha particularly loves writing about fashion, beauty, and wellness. She has worked as a Digital Content Producer with Onmanorama, Malayala Manorama, and as a Content Writer with Tata Consultancy Services. A Geminian, Amrutha loves juggling a variety of passions. A trained Carnatic singer, she loves dwelling in the world of music. When not working, she loves painting, cooking, travel, and cinema. A diehard pluviophile, Amrutha loves everything about the monsoon.

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