Today we’re on a big mission through the rough and ready backstreets of the humble, fashion-forward, UK ends. We ain’t just chattin’ about the runways of LDN fashion week or those high-end posh boutiques up in Knightsbridge, nah, fam. We’re diving into the homegrown talent, those underground (and some mainstream) heroes mashing up the scene and forging a path for the UK streetwear culture.
We’re on about the top 10 UK streetwear brands, where it’s all about those edgy designs, those baggy ‘fits, and the boldest threads that represent local flavor. So, keep it locked, ‘cos we’re about to get into this roadman style guide. Whether you’re a long-time hypebeast or just a casual observer tryna freshen up your wardrobe, we’ve got something for every peng ting on the road. Get ready to big up these designers who are keeping it 100, making the pavements their runway, and putting the UK on the international drip map. Trust, you won’t want to miss this. So, lean back, flex and let’s run it.
Corteiz, a British streetwear label founded in 2017 by British-Nigerian entrepreneur Clint 419, is making waves with its unique approach to the fashion world. Born from the remnants of the previous streetwear label Cade, Corteiz has carved a unique identity with a logo of Alcatraz Island, underlining a philosophy of escaping societal constraints. The brand’s organic growth was largely propelled by guerrilla marketing tactics, with early marketing confined to private social media pages and unpredictable, exclusive product releases. Corteiz has cultivated a dedicated fanbase who participate in real-life ‘hypebeast scavenger hunts’ and flash mobs for limited release items, with their collections frequently seen on UK rap stars such as Central Cee, slowthai, Stormzy, Dave, and internationally recognised celebrities like Drake and Pharrell.
In terms of ethos, Corteiz is not just a brand focused on hype and exclusivity. It actively engages in community support, including generous donations to local food banks and orphanages. The company’s strong anti-reselling stance, headed by Clint 419, is another characteristic that sets it apart from many streetwear brands. Despite a legal dispute with Nike in 2021 over its name, the brand has recently announced a forthcoming partnership with the global sports brand. Corteiz’s dramatic rise is testament to its cleverly curated hype, distinctive marketing tactics and streetwear designs that resonate with a growing customer base, but as it moves towards mainstream acceptance, it will have to navigate the challenge of maintaining its original charm and appeal.
Launched from humble beginnings, selling t-shirts in a few London stores, Palace has since evolved into one of the largest streetwear brands on the planet. Known for their audacious approach, the brand celebrates their success by doubling down on their unorthodox methods, using their digital platforms to jest and provoke their customers, giving them a uniquely abrasive appeal. The company’s unconventional philosophy, however, belies the rich history and thoughtfulness that has shaped the brand into the influential entity it is today.
Palace Skateboards’ unique identity began with its birthplace—a squat flat near London’s Southbank skate park, affectionately known as ‘The Palace.’ From this origin, the brand was christened. Palace’s instantly recognizable logo—a Penrose Triangle designed by renowned London illustrator Fergus Purcell, also known as ‘Fergadelic’—further establishes the brand’s distinctiveness. The brand’s authentic identity is also reflected in its celebrated lo-fi aesthetic, seen in their video productions that echo the raw, grainy quality of 90s skate videos. Palace’s deep roots in the London skate scene, primarily through its connection with the iconic Slam City Skates, have solidified its authenticity and influence. The brand draws from a wealth of references in its designs, often paying tribute to elements of British culture, from the sportswear silhouettes of working-class Britain to the laid-back, rebellious spirit of street skating.
Cole Buxton is challenging conventional rules and norms in the fashion industry. Fueled by a commitment to quality, authenticity, and a minimalist design philosophy, the brand has become known for its unique reinterpretation of retrofuturist sportswear as an enduring expression of everyday style. Straying from the stereotype of an ‘Instagram brand’, Cole Buxton has successfully transcended the usual glass ceiling that isolates direct-to-consumer brands, positioning itself as a mainstream player in the fashion world. The brand’s distinctive aesthetic and ethos, often likened to the likes of John Elliott, have allowed it to transition from a fledgling start-up to a cult-favorite.
Founded by Cole Buxton and Jonny Wilson, the brand is grounded in essentialism and a spirit of ‘doing things properly.’ Their design approach is reminiscent of engineering, focusing solely on the product, thereby circumventing the traditional emphasis on branding and marketing. They are dedicated to creating timeless garments that combine old school athletics with streetwear in a seamless fusion, reflecting their values and lifestyle. A primary characteristic of the brand is their rigorous focus on quality, a feature they believe should be fundamental to any fashion brand.
Unknown London, established in 2017, has etched its place in the fashion world with its audacious and experimental approach. Symbolized by the iconic logo of three crossed daggers, the brand is celebrated for its innovative use of rhinestones and its distinct silhouettes, particularly the boxy fit t-shirts. Their designs amalgamate rebellious punk culture with contemporary elegance, marked by remarkable ventures like the creation of luxurious tracksuits in diverse materials, including velour.
The brand’s international presence is underlined by successful pop-up shops in global hubs like Paris, Berlin, and New York. A significant highlight in their journey has been their collaboration with NLE Choppa, where they uniquely blended music and fashion by incorporating graphics of a character and the tracklist from his album, Cottonwood 2, into their designs. Unknown London, thus, continues to challenge norms, inspire creativity, and foster a compelling fashion narrative for those who dare to be different.
Founded in 2011 by brothers George and Mike Heaton, Represent is a game-changer in British streetwear. It all started with George selling his own art on T-shirts, and the brand has only gone up from there. Known for their killer attention to detail, these blokes have been creating top-notch clothing from scratch, pushing their designs and methods to the next level.
From their first box logo T-shirts getting some major love from the band Rizzle Kicks, to rocking New York Fashion Week, Represent has been all about breaking boundaries and stepping up their game. They’ve had to switch things up along the way, like moving their production to better factories in 2018, and focusing on online sales in 2019. Even when 2020 threw a curveball, Represent was ready, putting out fresh drops every week and perfecting their jersey tees and hoodies. Their dedication shows in every piece they create, whether it’s the versatile 247 pants, their rock band collabs, or their sleek Blank collection. No matter what, Represent is always about bringing the best streetwear to the fans.
London-based brand Seventh, founded by Bukki Ojo and creatively directed by Emmanuel Duru, has carved a niche for itself in the crowded fashion scene with its minimalistic and quality-driven approach to design. Born out of Bukki’s background in vintage fashion and her passion for classic sportswear, Seventh embodies a careful amalgamation of various silhouettes, materials, and structures. Launched at the end of 2019, the brand prides itself on the simplicity and form of its pieces, from its original V1 hoodie to its contemporary collection, with each garment reflecting the brand’s commitment to innovation, quality, and a refreshing simplicity that resonates with its creative clientele.
Seventh is anchored in a core ethos: comfort and aesthetics must go hand in hand. Both Bukki and Emmanuel strive to achieve this balance, constructing pieces that offer ease without sacrificing style. This philosophy extends to their choice of colors as well. The brand places heavy emphasis on color coherence and symbiosis, ensuring that every piece effortlessly complements others in the collection. This meticulous attention to detail and the simplification of the dressing process reflects in the brand’s name, ‘Seventh,’ a nod to the biblical day of rest. Their design pillars—color, silhouette, and quality—are evident in their unique, unbranded products, where recognition comes from the distinctive structure and feel of the garments. As Seventh evolves, it promises to stay true to its roots while embracing challenges, like incorporating vibrant colors into their typically muted palette, and expanding their product line.
Founded by three friends, Rich, Tom, and Steffy, in 2015, Wax London represents a commitment to quality, affordable fashion. Born out of an uncompromising desire to dress well without overspending, Wax London embodies British heritage, Mediterranean sensibility, and Indian craftsmanship, all presented through a London-centric perspective. The brand emphasizes slow fashion, partnering with global sustainable mills and suppliers that adhere to the highest production standards, minimizing the environmental footprint.
The most celebrated of Wax London’s offerings is the Whiting Overshirt, a staple piece named in honor of founder Tom’s grandfather. This all-year-round garment is noted for its versatility, designed to serve as a shirt, a mid-layer, or a jacket, adapting seamlessly to any style need. Each Whiting Overshirt is made in limited runs with new patterns, fabrics, and colourways for each release. Wax London’s collection can be explored at their store nestled in the heart of Soho, London.
Trapstar, a trailblazing UK streetwear label, co-founded by Mikey Trapstar, owes its success to organic relationships with artists and an underground cultural movement that goes beyond fashion. Established in 2006, the brand quickly gained recognition and popularity, not only from its signature gothic font and barcode but also from the endorsements of well-known celebrities such as Stormzy, Rihanna, and A$AP Rocky. Trapstar’s ethos is deeply rooted in the streets, acting as a bridge between underground music and fashion. The brand’s inception involved an innovative blend of creativity and guerrilla marketing, with their first piece, a bright pink T-shirt with the Scarface poster, being advertised on Myspace. Trapstar maintained its distinct ethos with initiatives like impromptu pop-up “invasions” and secretive product launches, making it one of the most recognizable brands in the UK’s streetwear scene.
Founded by Mikey, Lee, and Will, Trapstar grew from making t-shirts for friends to becoming one of the first major players in the streetwear industry, even signing with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. The brand started selling through pop-up stores, with items packaged and delivered in pizza boxes, an unconventional approach that made Trapstar unique. Today, Trapstar’s range extends to bold graphic t-shirts, hoodies, bloke core inspired football jerseys, and matching tracksuits that have been sported by celebrities like Rihanna and The Weeknd. Known for its secretiveness, the brand often conceals the identities of its founders, adding to the aura of exclusivity that surrounds it. Over the years, Trapstar has collaborated with various artists and brands, designing tour merchandise for Rihanna and Eminem, creating an exclusive collection for Selfridges, and partnering with the Hitman video game series. As it continues to champion the culture of the streets and underground music, Trapstar remains a prominent force in the global fashion landscape.
Manière De Voir
Manière De Voir, often abbreviated as MDV, is a UK-based streetwear brand, established by Reece Wabara, a former England U20 and Manchester City footballer, in collaboration with Benjamin Francis and Lewis Morgan of Gymshark. The brand was born out of Wabara’s sporting connections and his vision for a smart, comfortable, and high-quality tracksuit, combined with the operational know-how and industry savvy of his Gymshark partners. Emphasizing the sourcing of the finest modern materials, the brand makes a splash in the world of luxe streetwear by marrying sports luxe with style, setting its sights on becoming a market leader for multi-gender fashion. The brand has chosen a direct-to-consumer sales approach, with products exclusively available on their website, enhancing their unique brand positioning.
The name Manière De Voir, French for “way of seeing,” hints at the brand’s design philosophy and their commitment to innovation and affordability. Notable for leading fashion trends, MDV boasts sleek designs for both men and women, offering a comprehensive product range including corset bodysuits, midi dresses, tracksuits, coats, jeans, bags, backpacks, hoodies, puffer jackets, raincoats, jumpers, and shirts. Their standout aesthetic, marked by bold styles and high-quality materials, is part of their distinctive appeal. To complement their bold clothing line, MDV has featured high-profile models such as Ruby Mae and Ming Savannah, further reinforcing their position as a fast-forward player in the urban luxe streetwear market.
This brand exists at the intersection of street culture and sustainability, provocatively flirting with the concept of upcycling but taking a detour with their unique approach to design. Leaning into the comfort and style of streetwear, they craft woven tapestry-inspired garments – from sweatshirts emblazoned with blanket-style logos to pieces completely enveloped in the intricate patterns of tapestry prints, adding an unconventional twist to the contemporary streetwear scene.