The Top 5 DJ's Defining Modern Streetwear Culture
The meteoric growth of the $185bn streetwear industry in recent years shows no sign of slowing down, despite the Coronavirus pandemic. Over the last year, we’ve seen collaborations between Palace and Stella Artois, Gucci/North Face, and even Crocs with Justin Bieber.
A notable key moment that provided a major shift in dominance towards the streetwear industry was the collaboration between Supreme and Louis Vuitton in 2017.
Costiero draws inspiration from Italian-brand designers such as Massimo Osti, Virgil Abloh, René Ramillon and André Vincent and, of-course, Guccio Gucci. Costiero founders, Karl Smeatham and Joshua Tulip often deduce their style from club culture within the techno music genre and in this blog, we will take a view on some of the best to do it.
1. Peggy Gou (@peggygou_)
Korean DJ, fashion icon and designer Peggy Gou’s inaugural streetwear label Kirin (Korean for Giraffe) debuted Paris Fashion Week 2019 and was supported by Virgil Abloh, alongside many other renowned designers.
Gou has become a household name in the Fashion Industry with her clothing label Kirin launching under the New Guards Group, the Milan- based brand platform, which also holds the worldwide license to Off-White. With her creative output and presence in her DJ career, it makes no surprise the South Korean- born techno DJ does the same with her fashion lines.
The name Kirin is South Korean for ‘giraffe’ which Gou has often stated is her spirit animal and often you see this embroidered onto her collections of jackets and jeans. Like many fashion designers, Gou pulls inspiration from her South Korean heritage including motifs of Korean traditional masks which can be seen on her wide range of clothing from satin pyjamas to tracksuits. Korean references have become a signature of her ranges inspired by 'Dancheong' ('단청; 丹靑' )which are the painted motifs found on Korean buildings.
Gou’s Instagram is like a shrine to the Berlin Based DJ either repping her clothing line or bossing her oversized streetwear look with brands like Stussy, Supreme and some apparel collaborations like Nike x Cactus Plant Flea Market which you can see in her photo above.
2. Martinez Brothers (@themartinezbros)
The Bronx born brothers Steven and Chris comprise the well-known DJ/Producer duo The Martinez Brothers. They have been exposed to New York’s music and fashion scene from an early age and have now become long term advocates of the two in the Big Apple. The pair have embedded themselves into fashion and music and in many of their sets, you see them head to toe in the top streetwear brands including Moncler, Off-White, New Era and many Nike Collaborations.
Through these collaborations, it has seen them work with many of fashion's heavy hitters including Ricardo Tisci’s Givenchy where spanning over the years of 2014-2016 it saw them compose, mix and arrange the music for the brands' runway shows.
Already recognised in the music industry down to their style of house and energy behind the decks, this exposure saw them find a real trajectory in the fashion world. Alongside their long time friend DJ Seth Troxler, they were put in charge of the soundtrack for arguably the biggest collaboration in the history of high-end fashion and streetwear when the giants Louis Vuitton and Supreme collided.
The effortless style that the duo carries along with their larger than life personalities put them on the radar of other brands like DKNY where not only did they DJ for the 30th-anniversary campaign at New York Fashion week they were also the faces of it with them taking centre stage for NYC’s billboards all over the city.
In 2016 the brothers collaborated with one of streetwear’s iconic brands New Era for a limited edition cap and jacket inspired by New York graffiti and named after their own record label Cuttin Headz which cemented them as the flag bearers for New York music and fashion.
3. Mathame (@mathame_)
Also known as the Italian brothers Matteo and Amedeo Giovanelli are a formidable techno duo signed to one of the biggest labels in the techno genre, Afterlife. The pair formed in 2015 at the ages of 27 and 15 living at the bottom of one of the most active volcanoes on earth - Mount Etna, at their parents' farm/guest house. The brothers have always said that the inspiration for their unique and iconic sounds come from the dark, thunderous and strange noises that came from the volcano.
The brothers have often found themselves in unique settings for their sets like Unity Live from Etna Volcano in Italy, Cercle at Reforma 180 heliport in Mexico City and TIME:CODE at Monument Sloboda in Serbia. The two have also worked in fashion advertising for a few years now and when asked what was in store for 2020 they replied “we are thinking of a clothing line and I think if we had not done this (DJing) in life we would most likely have condensed our passion for fashion”.
In many of their sets, the brothers are always wearing famous fashion brands including Vetements, Palm Angels and like many of the previously mentioned DJ’s in this blog OFF-White. A staple of their wardrobe is Palm Angels no doubt keeping to their roots and supporting their fellow countryman Francesco Ragazzi. Ragazzi is about as influential as they come when you talk about fashion designers who after 10 years at Moncler focused on his Californian skate-inspired label Palm Angels founded in 2015.
4. Black Coffee (@realblackcoffee)
The veteran South African DJ and producer has become a cornerstone in both the fashion and music industry thanks to his innovation and dedication to both industries. The passion for both will not stop with Black Coffee but will continue through the ages with his project called the F.A.M Academy (Fashion, Art and Music) which he plans to build in a deserted part of his hometown in Johannesburg inspired by his own educational experience.
Black Coffee and close friend Virgil Abloh a powerhouse in the fashion sector linked together in SS19 when the pair celebrated their African heritage through a drop with Abloh’s fashion label OFF-WHITE. Many garments including denim jackets, t-shirts, hoodies and caps all sported the black, yellow and green colour scheme of Africa with the denim jacket incorporating the motif of the continent.
When scrolling through his Instagram it doesn’t take long to spot a pattern of oversized hoodies and t-shirts emblazoned with the top designers in streetwear including Fear of God Essentials, Vetements, Balenciaga and of course his very own collaboration sweatshirt with OFF-White.
Fear of God was founded by LA fashion designer Jerry Lorenzo in 2013 and is now a real symbol of streetwear, it has an almost cult-like following with its Essentials range. It's accessible pricing for a luxury line has seen the company go from strength to strength and has also seen collaborations with Kanye West on his Yeezus tour merch, Nike and also Adidas. The Essentials range exploded in 2020 where it became the third best selling brand on the resale platform StockX with its hoodie outselling the Supreme Box Logo T-shirt by more than 10,000 units.
5. ARTBAT (@artbatmusic)
ARTBAT is born from the Ukrainian duo Batish and Artur who rose from Kyiv’s underground scene, they are now globally recognised and are arguably one of the most in-demand acts on the international circuit. The duo announced themselves on the international radar in 2019 when at the DJ awards they won the Breakthrough Artist prize, top-selling track on Beatport with “Upperground” and the remix of 2019’s highest-selling track “Return to Oz”.
The pairing are often seen in streetwear brands and you can tell they take great pride in their appearance behind the decks. One of their more infamous sets is their Cercle set at Bondinho Pao de Acucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) in Rio where Batish is seen wearing a MISBHV- Hardcore Pleasures t-shirt and Artur wearing an oversized OFF-White T-shirt. Whether they are behind the decks or jet-setting around the globe they are always wearing the best streetwear clothing the industry has to offer. A short tour around their Instagram and you can see them wearing OFF-White, Palm Angels, MISBHV and Ih Nom Uh Nit.
Like many brands, MISBHV is a Polish streetwear label that originally began as a little side earner selling a small selection of t-shirts to close friends and family and is now a fully-fledged label selling multiple products with some exceeding £1000. The label Ih Nom Uh Nit meaning ‘to have no name’ stand out from the crowd with the majority of their lines encompassing famous faces like Pablo Escobar and Dennis Rodman. Operating out of France and Italy their graphic themes give this lifestyle brand a unique standing in the streetwear game.