Streetwear and the Hip Hop Dance World gravitate towards each other. Very often when dancers think about creating a business, street fashion is on top of the list. While I am not the right person to say what it is, that connects those two worlds, I think that these creative young labels need more spotlight. I can not do this on my own, as my readership is not that big, but I can do my part by presenting some of the labels that emerged from our dance community or found their way into it.
I have put a little bit of research into this topic because it is nowhere close my core expertise. My intent writing this article was to present an overview of the existing labels and show the differences between them. I have sent some private messages and emails to the label creators asking for background info about their work. The answers I received made me rethink the approach for this post. There is a distinct pattern revealing itself – about what all these labels have in common.
The common ground
fair & sustainable
organic, local, unique
These values define the visions of the label creators. Fair & sustainable or synonyms where essential in all of the answers I received or the descriptions on the official websites.
Being unique is a thing that every serious fashion label strives for. Our austrian fashion brands are no exception.
The great thing about this common ground between all the brands is that it shows a deep understanding of the needs of our society. It shows that the fashion entrepreneurs that are close to the hip-hop scene value social progress more than profits. For my understanding, this is a noble trait that you seldom find in the business world.
Let’s jump into the differences, that matter far less, than the common things.
The Salzburg-based label Esteem was built upon the idea to “create some shirts for ourselves and friends”. The following step to the own streetwear brand was not that far. The name stands for value, respect and acceptance.
The slogan of esteem is: create your own system.
Esteem produces all kinds of urban clothing and seeks out to fit the dancer’s needs wherever possible.
Check out the official Esteem Website.
Hailing from Graz Unleash.ed was found with the primary idea to support local subcultural movements like freerunning, tricking and the artforms from the hip-hop culture. The secondary idea was to create clothing that fits. Not in a literal matter but a symbolic one. The wearer should be able to identify with the clothes.
Unleash.ed goes by the slogan: by the community, for the community.
The primary products of unleashed are shirts and pullovers adorned with inspiring and creative sayings.
Visit the unleash.ed Facebook Page.
From the Soul
From the Soul is based in Innsbruck and takes the idea of sustainability one step further, by using clothes that are already there. The from the soul vintage market is a well-curated selection of second-hand clothing that is chosen with the urban dancer in mind. The majority of the pieces are sports clothing from the 80s and 90s as well as parts that fit the overall style of the era.
Their slogan: From The Soul, for the soul.
From the Soul has self-produced shirts and caps too and is working on finding suppliers they want to work with for the production of more stuff.
Check out the From the Soul Facebook Page.
Rachlé Art resides in Klagenfurt and is all about customs. They design most of their work per hand, directly onto the clothes. The items that are created this way are truly unique. The focus is on extraordinary and colourful designs that resemble the spirit of the customs from the origins of the hip-hop culture.
Take a look at their pieces on the Rachlé Art Facebook Page.
URBAN ARTISTS WEAR
not something for everyone – but for someone
Urban Artists Wear is a label that is focused on key-pieces for the hip-hop dancer. They see “the own style” not only as a way to express through the art of the four traditional elements but also an aesthetic presentation of one’s individuality through fashion. The search for possibilities to be individual in the pabulum of the big sports labels was a significant reason to found the brand.
All the items are self-designed and use patterns that differ from the norm while using established ideas from within the scene, like the oversized look. Jackets, shirts, pants, bags and more are hand-crafted as single items or in a low number of pieces.
Follow Urban Artists Wear on Instagram.
Mützenmafia (german for capmafia) is specialised on hand-crafting stylish caps, beanies and headbands. The company from Graz started creating headwear after desperately looking for it in a cold winter. As there were no satisfying options, the task was to develop it themselves.
Mützenmafia provides quality items to keep your head warm and stylish – no matter if it is cold weather or bad hair day.
Take a look at the Mützenmafia Online Shop.
Vresh is not directly tied to the urban dance scene, but their clothes found their way into our realm nonetheless. Their clothes are meant to support people and projects from music, sport and the creative sector without going into a niche. They support what they like.
Their designs fit a wide range of demands, and it is easy to find something you like.
Follow us to the official website of Vresh.
Which of these brands will have the right items for you is a matter of personal taste. That is not a thing we have to discuss. Important is: no matter who you buy from, in all the cases above you support a company that upholds essential values instead of putting money in a conscienceless economy that only strives for profit.
There are some more brands that I did not get enough info from. Therefore, there might be a second chapter of this one in the future.