L.A. has become a breeding ground for luxury streetwear brands. The convergence of skate and street culture mixed with punk and art have given way to a myriad of labels, including Amiri, Local Authority, Fear of God, Enfants Riches Déprimés, C2H4 and Daniel Patrick, which are all surging due to the heavy spotlight on the category.
“Streetwear is a hot category right now and you’re seeing brands having limited runs and they’re selling out. Others are adopting the Supreme model,” pointed out Brien Rowe, managing director of the investment banking group focused on consumer and retail at D.A. Davidson & Co.
The demand has certainly justified the eyebrow-raising prices in some cases. Vetements sold out of merchandise when it held its pop-up at Maxfield in Los Angeles with its limited-edition runs of T-shirts and hoodies ranging from $330 to $875. The fans — or resellers — came out in droves more recently when skate brand Supreme and Louis Vuitton unveiled their collaboration at various pop-ups globally, offering 195-euro keyholders or 50,000-euro, made-to-order trunks.
The question now becomes: At what point does the market move on to the next trend? Louis Vuitton x Supreme’s collaboration may provide a hint. A glance at the Instagram posts of the resellers and their mark-ups on the coveted products indicates it wasn’t entirely fans of either label who were camping out overnight to ensure a chance to buy. Thus, the emerging brands of today that are likely contenders for the long haul are those able to buck the hysteria drummed up by resellers and produce lines that evolve in terms of aesthetic, fabrication, fit and other attributes.
Brands that continue to churn out overprice T-shirts with no real backstory or reason to buy? It’s hard to say when the market grows weary of paying top dollar for such products, but one onlooker to the spectacle of the Louis Vuitton x Supreme pop-up in L.A., avid skateboarder Josh Gomez, shook his head at the thought of standing in line to buy the only thing from the collection that interested him: “S–t, I only wanted the skateboard to be honest with you, but that s–t’s $50K from what I’ve seen.”