Get ready to dive into the high-octane world of American streetwear! It’s where style meets subculture, rebellion meets fashion, and authenticity rules the streets. From sun-soaked California to graffiti-coated New York, streetwear is more than threads on a body – it’s a lifestyle, it’s a statement, it’s YOU. Buckle up as we take you on a thrilling ride through the top ten American streetwear brands that have rocked the fashion scene, shaken the status quo, and created a global style revolution!
Welcome to the world of Gallery Dept., a unisex clothing brand that’s carved out its own niche in the bustling streets of Los Angeles. Its creator, artist, and designer Josué Thomas, built the brand as an ode to his love for vintage fashion and art, reflecting a unique blend of past inspirations and modern styles. His creations don’t merely aim to clothe but to tell stories through repurposed and reimagined garments. With the brand’s heart and soul nested in its LA home office, every aspect from design, production to branding is meticulously curated under a simple yet potent philosophy: Collaborate, Create, and Rebel. The fruits of this philosophy are high-quality, artistic, and unique pieces that speak volumes about the wearer’s identity.
Rising from a ripple to a wave, Gallery Dept. has been turning heads in the music scene, becoming a favorite for hip-hop artists like Migos and a host of other trendsetting rappers. Each garment crafted by Thomas is a masterpiece, morphed from aged vintage items into modern treasures like flared workwear pants, distressed denim, hoodies, and T-shirts – all bearing the brand’s signature hand-painted alterations. The process unfolds in an LA store on Beverly Boulevard, where each piece is born from meticulous tailoring, distressing, and patchwork. Among these, the LA Flare denim stands tall, rebelling against the reign of skinny silhouettes, and now, the baggy resurgence embraces Thomas’ flared bottoms. With collaborations like the Culture III capsule with Migos and a debut with French fashion house Lanvin under its belt, Gallery Dept.’s reach continues to expand, promising more exciting partnerships.
Baptized by the sun-kissed shores of California’s Laguna Beach, Stüssy – a name synonymous with contemporary streetwear – has its roots firmly planted in the surf and skate culture of the early 1980s. What started as founder Shawn Stüssy’s whimsical experiment of emblazoning his signature on handmade surfboards has since morphed into an influential global brand. Its fame proliferated when Shawn partnered with his buddy Frank Sinatra Jr. (no relation to the crooner), catapulting Stüssy from a local phenomenon to a powerhouse with a flagship store in New York and a strong presence in Europe. Despite Shawn stepping away in 1996, the brand’s relaxed yet distinctive vibe continues to resonate, with its streetwear staples and the premium offerings of the Stüssy Deluxe sub-label charming both high-street shoppers and boutique goers. With its ingrained reputation as a trendsetter, Stüssy continues to define the essence of streetwear, inspiring a generation of brands and enthusiasts alike.
The brand, a brainchild of Ronnie Fieg, is more than just a shopping destination. With its stores designed by the artistic firm, Snarkitecture, Kith’s retail spaces metamorphose into immersive art exhibits, embodying a fusion of fashion and culture, transforming the shopping experience into a cultural adventure. It’s the creative risk-taking, the bold, curated displays, and the brand’s cultural significance that lure customers, transforming them from mere shoppers to participants in a movement, curators of culture.
A key feature of Kith’s DNA is its collaborative spirit. The brand frequently partners with an eclectic mix of labels – ranging from mainstream pop culture, like Rugrats and Power Rangers, to high-end fashion houses like Colette and BAPE, and sneaker titans like Nike and Adidas. Kith has mastered the art of storytelling, crafting engaging narratives around its collaborations and curations, sparking conversations both offline and online. Catering to the discerning tastes of sneaker enthusiasts and street-style aficionados, Kith’s commitment to innovation, coupled with its street credibility, maintains its position at the forefront of the streetwear scene, shaping and shifting the contours of popular culture.
Founded in the vibrant heartbeat of New York in 2014 by Teddy Santis, Aimé Leon Dore (ALD) quickly made waves in the street fashion arena. This New York gem is celebrated for its clean, yet iconic ready-to-wear collections, blending the realms of lifestyle, sportswear, and exquisite tailoring. But ALD is more than just threads and fabrics; it’s a canvas that paints a vivid story of Santis’ roots in Queens and Greece. Music, graffiti, basketball, and breakdancing — all these elements seamlessly intertwine, reflecting a rich tapestry of Santis’ upbringing.
Stepping foot into ALD’s flagship store on Mulberry Street in Soho is like time-traveling to a cozy European bistro. Amidst the bustling streets of Manhattan, the store boasts a classic European charm, with an adjoining Mediterranean café giving a nod to Santis’ heritage. From its inception, sparked by a mere Instagram post, to its current fame, the brand remains a testament to Santis’ impeccable eye and passion.
Supreme, founded by James Jebbia in 1994, has emerged from its roots as a small SoHo-based company to an iconic streetwear behemoth that resonates with a global audience. Rather than viewing Supreme as just a brand, Jebbia envisions it as a cool space, reflecting his youthful pursuit of elusive, offbeat stores.
Jebbia likens the brand’s clothing line to music, an open-minded blend appealing to a diverse range of tastes. This adaptability, combined with the loyalty of its fan base, has drawn the attention of the high fashion world, leading to collaborations with top brands such as Louis Vuitton. The brand, which initially only produced a few graphic t-shirts, has now expanded into an array of products including box logo hoodies, fitted caps, and skateboard decks. Its collaborations have gone beyond fashion, involving artists in their creative process. Supreme’s success lies in maintaining its intimacy and originality, staying true to its essence as a skate shop while reinventing streetwear fashion.
Emerging from a Los Angeles garage in 1988, Chrome Hearts quickly ascended to the zenith of street fashion cool, thanks to founders Richard Stark and John Bowman. Driven by a pure desire for standout leather jackets, their initial creations quickly caught the eyes (and hearts) of rock legends like the Sex Pistols and Guns N’ Roses, cementing the brand’s place as the unofficial rockstar uniform. With the added touch of sterling silver craftsman Leonard Kamhout, it wasn’t long before their distinct leather pieces and accessories gained an iconic status in the fashion world.
Fast forward to the present, and the brand continues to dominate the streetwear landscape, resonating with both old-school fans and a new generation of style enthusiasts. Chrome Hearts effortlessly marries its rocker ethos with modern trends. When icons like Drake and Travis Scott are donning those signature cross-emblazoned jeans, you know it’s more than just fashion — it’s a statement.
Brain Dead, founded by Kyle NG and Ed Davis in Los Angeles, breaks from traditional norms to create a brand that is as diverse as it is defiant. Taking inspiration from an array of subcultures, including skateboarders, punks, and underground comics, Brain Dead caters to those who embody the spirit of counterculture.
Since its inception in 2014, Brain Dead has expanded beyond graphic tees to offer a diverse range of apparel, headwear, accessories, footwear, and more. It has also fostered various notable footwear collaborations with premium brands such as Reebok, Asics, and The North Face. Brain Dead, true to its unconventional ethos, continues to evolve, pushing boundaries and leaving a lasting impression on streetwear enthusiasts worldwide.
Established in Los Angeles in 2015 by Rhuigi Villaseñor, RHUDE has swiftly risen as a beacon of luxury streetwear. Villaseñor’s journey, from his early life in Manila to his formative years in California, shapes the brand’s unique aesthetic. Merging his mother’s tailoring expertise with his own knowledge of art history and LA’s vibrant culture, Rhude tells tales of nostalgia, American iconography, and the allure of the City of Angels. As NBA stars like Jordan Clarkson and music icons like Jay-Z don the brand, Rhude’s distinct pieces, from its oversized logos to collaborations with local artists, are increasingly gracing Fashion Week runways and NBA arenas alike.
Denim Tears, launched in 2019 by Tremaine Emory, marries fashion and storytelling, expressing the rich narratives of the African Diaspora through its distinctive collections. Born in Atlanta and shaped by experiences in New York and the U.K., Emory, also known for his work with Kanye West and No Vacancy Inn, uses fashion to convey potent symbols and icons. Denim Tears, however, stands apart with its intention to challenge and reinterpret America’s historical relationship with cotton. The cotton wreath motif, emblematic of the struggles of black people within the cotton trade, is a recurrent symbol in Denim Tears’ collections. In collaborating with Dior and Levi’s, Denim Tears consistently delivers luxury and style.
Cherry , co-founded in 2017 by long-time friends Joseph Perez and David Levy, stands at the intersection of streetwear and classic Americana lifestyle. They are known for their innovative cut & sew styles and provocative graphics that offer a modern twist on classic fashion.
The Enduring Heatwave of American Streetwear
There you have it, the fantastic world of American streetwear! It’s diverse, it’s bold, and it’s here to stay. These brands are the real deal, shaping culture and turning heads with their jaw-dropping designs. Streetwear isn’t just about the look – it’s about the vibe, the counterculture spirit, the statement.