Historically, there has always existed a pronounced division between the different strata’s in society, and the fashion they enjoyed. With the aristocracy and bourgeoisie enjoying the opulence and sophistication of High Fashion, and the, shall I say “plebeians”, developing a much more defined and inspired sense of style of their own.
However, fashion being what it is, we’ve witnessed the commodification of every so-called major counter-culture trending on haute couture runways across the world. From Vivien Westwood’s take on punk rock to suburban middle class kids wearing 2PAC and biggie t-shirts, class lines have become blurred in the world of fashion.
A point in case is the evolution of sneakers. Traditionally associated with hip hop and rock ‘n roll as definitive symbols of those respective sub-cultures, cultures which were underclass in nature, aggressive and rebellious. These sub-cultures were anti-mainstream and rejected the pressure to conform to so-called ‘societal norms’, and essentially rejected what was being propagated by the other classes. They were looked down upon by the aristocracy and dismissed as mere delinquents. Forward to 2013 and those ‘delinquents’ and the style they developed is literally influencing and inspiring the world.
Sneakers have become a universal staple, however, they are no longer dominated solely by sports related brands, i.e Nike, Adidas, Puma, ect. There has been a wave of luxe polarisation, with high end fashion brands too taking it upon themselves to design sneakers. They have introduced new design elements, premium textures and of course the element of exclusivity due to limited stock and significantly higher prices. Also teaming up with notable figures to ‘co-design’ sneaker ranges as a powerful marketing tool to attract a new set of consumers to high end fashion, as we witnessed when Louis Vuitton teamed up with Kanye West. From Lanvin, Isabel Marant, Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Giuseppe Zanotti, Miu Miu and Christian Louboutin, the sneakers game has just gone next level.