The term "streetwear" is derided as often as it's praised. For most people, it doesn't exist. It's a label applied by people who don't "get it" or by corny corporations and business-types looking to cash in. For many though, it's associated with the underground companies and designers who made clothes that reflected the shit they were into. For brands like Stussy, that meant reggae, punk, and Chanel. Erik Brunetti's obsession with pop culture symbols like Jaws and Powell-Peralta's Bones Brigade is evident in a lot of FUCT product. In a world where people with enough Instagram followers are self-proclaimed "influencers," it can be hard to discern who's actually left an imprint on the culture.
The people and moments reflected in this list are indicative of cultural shifts and level of access—two things that have always played a part in what we define as "streetwear." That is, clothing meant to reflect the climate of subculture at the time, and how accessible it was to the average consumer. After all, once something goes mainstream, it's no longer "underground." We looked at the culture's roots, spread, and visible influence on brands today. From visionary stores and brands to technological breakthroughs, these important milestones shaped street culture. Here are 16 Things That Changed Streetwear Forever.