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The Story Of Trapstar

It’s one of the most important fashion trends in the last 30 years, yet despite more sharper styling and direction than everbefore, the fashion industry’s top designers tell Design Week that the secret authentic streetwear is rooted in people at the grass.

At a value of around $165 billion globally streetwear has emerged as one of the major fashion trends of the moment. It was a result of the counter-culture in the 80s and 90s The pioneers of the fashion were skateboarders and surfers from the US.

In the beginning streetwear was designed by those who wore it in the form of surfers and skaters designing clothing with personal designs and slogans. As time passed the emergence of brands took off including Stussy and Freshjive becoming popular in the 1980s, with other brands like Supreme, 10.Deep and Bape coming in the late 1990s.

In the past, fashion subversives were the mainstay The success of the current labels is largely due to an in-depth understanding of social media with polished design, as well as notable collaborations. Fans wait for hours to get their the first batch of Supreme releases; they’re willing to spend more than the price of the item to secure special edition Bape merchandise.

However, while the brands of today are more sophisticated than their predecessors of the past and their style is more popular than ever before, staying in touch with their own DIY and local roots is a major element of the operations of many brands. This method, adopted by both emerging and big name brands alike, adds a whole new degree of loyalty to the fanbases of brand-loving streetwear that proponents are eager to encourage.

“Pushing the entire culture”

In 2008, prior to when Mikey Trapstar was established as a Trapstar label, the now world-renowned streetwear giant was printing pictures on t-shirts using Snappy Snaps situated in the west of London. Then, after a while, moving towards a printer on screen using an emphasis on graphics, Trapstar began selling its merchandise on the social network Myspace.

“We (Mikey, along with fellow co-founders Lee and Willwere able to purchase burner phones and then give our numbers to Myspace,” says Mikey. “And once you’d placed your order for clothes then we’d drive you to the store and deliver it to you in an empty pizza box. Then you could call us and we’d take the item in person.”

From the humble beginnings of the brand, Trapstar has evolved into an international streetwear phenomenon after signing to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label in the year. According to Mikey the endorsements of celebrities and Instagram likes only add value and the most important factor to the brand’s success lies in its position in the eyes of its followers.

“We’ve worked on it since the year 2008, which was young of the UK streetwear scene . As it has developed, we’ve been very involved in it,” he says. “It was not just our intention to promote this style of clothing, it was the entire fashion and culture that was a part of it.”

Since its beginnings of pop-up celebrations that were held in stores (what they refer to as “invasions”) Mikey says that the brand has created an intimate community. Mikey says the fact that they are part of a community is the reason people are drawn to it.

“A similar trade-off”

Brands should construct their identity around their communities of origin communities is a tenet supported by a range of streetwear brands. For example, in this case, Done London, what began as a group of friends who printed t-shirts for others has evolved into a thriving brand that just released a desired capsule collection that is endorsed by Transport for London (TfL).

“We started making things for our own friends and ourselves at first,” says Done London co-founder Will Rowley-Conwy. “It was really an opportunity for us to meet our fellow peers and, when we finally began selling t-shirts we noticed that people were interested in what we were doing , because they appreciated the time and effort we put into our products.”

Rowley-Conwy, along with founder Tom Andrews are quick to declare that it’s a crowded one “There’s hundreds of streetwear labels popping up on Instagram each day, but how many of them last?” To preserve their personal style, the duo have nurtured their community by directing Done as an outlet for creatives instead of a single brand.

Visit Hype Locker UK to shop for a Trapstar jacket.

“We aid artists and musicians design their products, and we also help other streetwear brands create their own products,” says Andrews. “People are drawn to brands they enjoy and when you assist them in creating their own brand, it’s like a for like exchange.”

“Real members will imagine it”

Collaboration-based fashion company Collusion takes a step forward, creating whole collections from partnerships in the larger community. Since its inception in 2018 Collusion has been inviting Gen-Z and millennial designers to create clothes, describing the choice “[a celebration ofthe people who wear it”.

“[Our customers] want more than clothing,” says Collusion’s head of design Sian Ryan, “they look to buy from brands they connect and agree with.”

Ryan says that the Collusion brand is based on the freedom to express yourself and inclusion Guest designers have been brought into the brand to promote the idea. Because the styles of these designers differ from collection to collection, Collusion is branded through its approach to community rather than any uniform fashion.

Ryan states: “The brand model sets up to evolve continuously and will never be changed… The actual members of the Collusion Community] will constantly be invited to reinvent and alter the model.”

One of the brand’s initial collaborators the artist Jebi Ndimuntoh Labembika, discusses the process: “Back home [in CameroonEach tribe has their own distinct way of life which is why when they enter the world, every tribe is distinct. The clothing, the collaborators models, the message of Collusionthe brand] – all of it is the tribe.”

“A means to identify ourselves”

With well-established communities and established, the graphics of streetwear brands have a deeper significance. Beyond being a means to add style to clothes, logos can become identification badges. Mikey describes: “[Our Trapstar logo] is an ode to strength, and it reflects the strength we imitate every other aspect of the brand.

“People are looking to be a part of that inner strength and power and the logo serves as a way to convey that image to others who are within our community and beyond it.”

The Done by London’s TfL collection, with the various compass marks of the capital, creates the same result. “People like us feel proud about where they came from and are happy with their community,” says Rowley-Conwy.

“For those who aren’t from the area, it could be strange to wear a t-shirt which declares that you’re from South London however, many people would like to identify themselves as belonging to the same group, and these images can help them do it.”

Mikey concludes: “Trapstar will always keep the essence of its initial philosophy of the brand to make people aware of the community they’re joining whenever they put on our clothing We believe in the same principles.”