THE MEMORIAL DAY SALE | TAKE 20% OFF SELECT STYLES WITH CODE MD22. SALE ENDS SOON.
Shopping Cart

Why Is Streetwear So Expensive?

January 27, 2022

It’s no secret: Streetwear can be pretty expensive. Some may balk at that since, unlike haute-couture, streetwear puts emphasis on practical fashion that can be worn anywhere. Justifying a suit or dress only to be worn on special occasions makes sense, but spending a lot of money on something that can be worn on a near-daily basis seems ridiculous.

Still, when you look through a given designer's catalog, you can see that some sizes will be sold out (in some cases, most sizes) and that they have an overall robust product line. Clearly, they must be selling, and clearly, they must be doing right by their clients, or else they wouldn’t be in business. 

Streetwear is expensive; that much is true, but there’s a reason why high-quality streetwear can be worth the cost. High-grade materials, unique designs, and an aura of exclusivity all come together to make everyday fashion something to be proud of. What’s more, streetwear has a strong overlap with sportswear and athletic gear, making it extremely comfortable and able to be worn in all sorts of situations.

Origins of Streetwear 

Streetwear originated in Los Angeles decades ago in the 1970s, growing tightly around surfer and skateboarding culture. Street fashion moved to New York City from California, where some brands developed cult followings thanks to limited drops. Drops are regular releases of small-batch clothing items which keep consumer interest high while providing a large array of unique fashion items. This helps to keep brands in vogue with a constantly shifting lineup of shoes, sweats, shirts, and other gear. While LA set the standard for style, New York reimagined the way products would be distributed.

Cost Factors Affecting Streetwear 

Style doesn’t necessarily come cheap, and plenty of things affect the cost of streetwear. Beyond the regular operating costs of a business, the production, pedigree, branding, and marketing of a designer influences the overall cost of a product. Streetwear exists in direct opposition to fast fashion: Whereas fast fashion uses simple designs, quickly purchased and quickly discarded, streetwear is consciously built to last, with care taken to separate it from other brands and other clothes on the market. Below are a few of the key components which affect the cost of streetwear.

Brand 

Branding isn’t everything, but it definitely helps, regardless of your field. People who don’t know opera know Mozart. People who don’t know a thing about sports know Babe Ruth. People who rarely read immediately know the type of writing you’re referring to when talking about Stephen King or William Shakespeare. A company’s brand speaks both to what they produce and how they produce it: The people they support, their mission statement, and their vision for the future all come together to create a one-of-a-kind brand.

Materials 

High-quality materials lead to a high price point. It’s easy to find cheap cotton, wool, or synthetic fabric products, but settling for a lesser-quality material means dealing with less of the fabrics’ good qualities and more of the bad. Luxury streetwear can afford to take risks in design, leading to a great deal of innovation compared to fast fashion.

Many streetwear brands also think about how their designs come to fruition beyond the clothing itself. Often, manufacturing processes can be more ethical and transparent than fast fashion, where mass-production can result from hostile labor practices and corner-cutting when it comes to quality. Luxury streetwear sees this sort of cost-cutting as the enemy, where every part of a piece’s history contributes to its special nature. 

Scarcity 

Terms like “limited edition,” “exclusive drops,” as well as items numbered by lot are thrown out a lot, but that all translates to one principle, scarcity. Part of this is basic economics: As a designer, you wouldn’t create something that you didn’t think you could sell, and as such, you don’t want your supply to outstrip demand. At the same time, artificial scarcity, as is seen in limited runs, especially when major collaborators are involved, creates a sense of exclusivity which drives up the market and social value of items. 

Scarcity itself also drives the price up: To stay in business, companies need to either have wider profit margins per item or increase the rate at which they drop goods. Either way, small production numbers mean each drop is full of items unique to your own closet.

Case Study: Daniel Patrick

We’ve explained some of the reasons why streetwear is so costly and what can justify that cost. However, each brand is different, both in their personal history and how they achieve their vision. Using the above three criteria as major factors when it comes to streetwear, we’ll be seeing how Daniel Patrick makes worthwhile designs that go the distance.  

Our Brand

As a solo brand, Daniel Patrick has come a long way since our inception. Our founder, Daniel Patrick, started as an Australian rugby player who always had a keen interest in fashion. Eventually, the love of fashion began to inspire him far more than his athletic ambitions, which drove him to move to the U.S. with nothing but $1,000 and a few duffel bags to his name. While this could have easily ended in failure, a crystal clear plan and boundless drive aided him in turning his dream into a reality.

We can now proudly list Bella Hadid, Kylie Jenner, Steve Aoki, Kevin Durant, Beyonce, and James Harden, to name just a few, among those who’ve sported our brand. We’re also no strangers to a good collaboration. Presently speaking, we are running a collaboration with Adidas. We previously created shoes with them and James Harden to commemorate the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend.

The collaboration features tees, hoodies, socks, hats, and other items adorned with the Daniel Patrick and Adidas logos. Adidas is well known as an athletic brand, and we’ve chosen to partner with them, as with all our partners, because we know that a brand is more than a name or a logo you put on a jersey. Fundamentally, a brand promises a pattern of behavior in alignment with its history and values. For Daniel Patrick, our brand means paying close attention to the manufacture of individual, distinctive articles alluding to the classics while looking towards the future of fashion.

Our Materials

When it comes to base materials, Daniel Patrick sets a high standard. We choose our natural and synthetic fabrics --loop terry, polyester microfiber, heavyweight jersey, and lightweight nylon- for starters- for their fashionable appearance and functional durability. Almost everything we do is sourced locally to LA, and even when we assemble things elsewhere, we do so out of love for fine craftsmanship. For example, some of our designer footwear is presently made in Portugal and Italy.

The notion of specialty material and deliberate craft is not better exemplified than in our Parachute Track Pant V Cargo, which comes in two styles with radically different purposes. Both versions combine the best of cargo and track pants with cargo pockets at the knees and zip pockets at the front and back of the pant. Three-millimeter piping on the side and bungee cord adjustable straps at the ankle of each leg make for a pant that can fit the wearer however they like.

When it comes to the first of the unique offerings, the initial one is a black and silver reflective neon pattern made of and lined with nylon. The reflective surface improves visibility under lights, whether you want to use that to go night running or to make for an eye-catching appearance under regular conditions.

The second version eschews reflective properties to instead focus on the materials themselves. While still using the same lined nylon, the cargo pockets of the red and maroon model use a dark corduroy to create a distinct two-toned appearance. 

Our Scarcity 

Daniel Patrick doesn’t mass-produce anything, but that scarcity isn’t artificial. We don’t believe in machine production, and for that reason, our articles are handmade at our home base in LA, as previously mentioned. This results in small batches of clothing that have attention paid to every single seam. While it might be possible for us to do things differently, it’s against our ethos and our vision to sacrifice one bit of quality to boost our quantity. 

Scarcity might be driven because of popularity, but there’s no reason why streetwear fashion should be inaccessible. When an item is popular, we understand that sometimes a re-issue is in order. For example, our Parachute Track Pant II, a classic in our line of track pants, has recently had an extra, made-to-order run. While we can’t keep stocking every item forever, not even a reissue will add enough garments to the market that any of that sense of exclusivity and handcrafted detail will be lost.  

Great Streetwear Is Worth the Price Tag 

Style isn’t cheap, but that doesn’t mean it’s inaccessible. Unlike fast fashion, Streetwear is built to last, improving on classic designs and presenting new, hyper-modern ones. For the cost, you’re investing in your own sense of style with articles of clothing that can be worn anywhere, paired with the right outfit. 

Fast fashion holds as its highest principle, not art or personality-but speed. Why dress like everybody else when the mass manufacturers just want to sell as many garments as possible without caring who they step on, on either side of the production floor? In the end, street fashion eschews the bad of the fashion industry to celebrate the good in it. With street fashion, you can make your closet your own.

 

Sources:

The History of Streetwear I Who What Wear

The Real Reason Luxury Fashion Is So Expensive I Fashion Beans

How Designer Daniel Patrick went from Sports to Fashion I LA Times


Recent Posts