What is Streetwear? A quick trip down Street/wear Culture History

by Tyler Blake


[For Use By Us – legendary early 2000s streetwear brand]

A lot of the clothing I’ve been styling and designing lately is inspired by 14 year old me. This all goes far beyond what you can imagine, it’s more than just clothing, it’s CULTURE.


It’s how we navigated and survived everyday life. I remember the day my big sister Christen and my big brother Greggo brought home our first FUBU [For Us By Us] outfits [picture above] for my little brother Micah and I, the 05 Jersey with jeans to match. 


This was summer of 2001 and fashion/style became a part of my heart and life at this moment.

From this day forward, while other kids were into Nintendo 64 and sports, all I wanted was more clothes and shoes.

On the South Side of Chicago, we didn’t have much. Staying fresh and getting FLY was a matter of expressing my sense of style through what we could afford.

“Daniel Day, known as Dapper Dan, is a Harlem couturier known as the “king of knock-offs.” He made his name in the late ’80s and ’90s as the tailor who provided rap culture with its signature gangster-inspired style, reworking traditional luxury-house products to outfit a slew of emerging hip-hop stars, athletes and gamblers including the likes of LL Cool J, James Jackson and Floyd Mayweather. He returned to prominence in 2018 after a cultural appropriation scandal led Gucci to finance the rebirth of his business and include him in its diversity council.”

He single handed paved the way not only for Street Fashion but fashion trends as we know them.


[White Air Force 1′]

Polos and White Low Top Air Force Ones were an easy affordable way for us to stay Fresh and Fly. In the early 2000s, at the time, these pieces weren’t about anything that was trendy, they were a way of life. We bought what we could afford when we were kids, we bought white lows because they matched with all of our clothes.

Kanye West [YE] spoke for us and made Polos a staple in Street Culture.


We wore White Lows in the early 2000s, not because they were a trend, the clean white silhouette pulled together any outfit you could imagine. There’s a new wave going around today but these sneakers weren’t merely a fashion statement until Nelly gave us his stamp of approval with his break out single “Air Force Ones” in 2002.


[White T Shirts]

We didn’t have Guccio Gucci or LVMH money, so, we wore and designed on White Tees.

I used to get 10 for 10 out in Roseland, The Greater Roseland community on the South Side of Chicago, where I grew up.

Dem Franchize Boyz released “White Tee” in 2004, speaking for the streets, expressing the heart of what white T Shirts mean’t to us.

Streetwear goes far beyond what you can imagine, it was a way of life for us, how we navigated and survived everyday life.

STRENGTH. =  “I Aint Goin!!” Chicago Lingo for Never Fold no matter the circumstances or challenge ahead.  
COURAGE. = Go After What’s Yours – “On Foenem” Chicago Lingo for Family
CONFIDENCE. = Loyalty – “No One Man Above The Other” 

HEART. = Stand Up For What’s Right


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