Street style isn't just big chunky sneakers, out of the box designs, and translucent materials! It's all about artists interpreting something existing and making it their own.
In this blog post, we’re exploring streetwear basics and how to wear it. If you’ve been curious about the style that’s sweeping pop culture, this is a perfect way to get introduced!
Street Style Basics with Mam Couture
To bring my streetwear education up to speed, I caught up with my friend Rashad, owner of MAM (Make A Mill) Couture Boutique, a local street style shop born in Denver, CO.
Rashad designs, creates and sells his own label, MAM Couture (Make A Mill) to support his vision of streetwear and his passion of find his Mill[ion] and help you find yours.
The Rules of Street Style
We talked about what street style is, what "rules" there are for this style, how much confidence it takes to dress street, common misconceptions behind street style, where it's headed, and how crowded the street style space is.
Streetwear Styling Session
We also styled two looks and discussed what made them fit into the style. Rashad put me into my favorite look that I wouldn't have found on my own.
Street style has been a huge inspiration for my style and it was great to get the chance to learn about it from someone who lives and breathes it. Now I feel more confident to continue to expand on it and incorporate it into my style.
Street Style Basics
I've used street style as an inspiration to style modern casual outfits with personality. However, I still consider myself very new to it. So to start, Rashad and I went to the basics.
What is Street Style All About?
The underlying message behind how Rashad describes street style is that it’s a movement.
It’s a movement by designers and artists who are sharing their messages and inspirations through style. It’s a kind of style that has grown out of garages using “ready-made means” to push artistic objectives.
It’s not just about a city vibe, streetwear can also be a mix of contemporary and luxury. Rashad defines his own brand MAM (Make A Mil) as comfortable and heavily influenced by New York Luxury. He’s all about street silhouettes with a tailored fit.
That’s just one way to do street style. There’s a little bit of everything at MAM Couture Boutique. It’s an eclectic assortment that Rashad brings together to make his own shop cohesive and representative of his version of street style.
What are the Rules for Streetwear?
The beauty of streetwear is that there are no rules. It’s unlike more traditional styles where you may need to know the rules before you break them. Here, everything is game.
You can take hoodies and mix them up with button ups (even sleeveless ones) or take suits and mix them with sneakers.
"Every person is a canvas and the clothes they put on is the paint. That's the art. It's beautiful." - Rashad Randolph, MAM Couture Boutique
Street Style Confidence
If you’ve explored street style and thought to yourself “I don’t think I could wear that,” you’re actually in luck.
Street style isn’t about achieving a level of confidence in order to be able to wear it. If you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing and letting your own confidence shine through, you’ve got street style.
Share your Personality
Getting into streetwear is all about sharing your personality and feeling confident to do so. It’s not about achieving a certain standard which causes us to doubt our style choices. It’s the real benefit of a style without rules.
Street Style Misconceptions
When you picture street style, it’s easy to think wacky designs, neon colors, and unique materials. So when I asked Rashad about common misconceptions about streetwear, I was expecting him to elaborate on that. Instead, he pointed out two big ones that have come from his experience as a designer.
Racial Representation in Street Style
Street style is not exclusive to any single group of people. It’s open to anyone who wants to express their personality and be authentic through their style. It’s taking inspiration and turning it into wearable art.
"Racial representation. I think a lot of people think you have to be black or a minority or from the hood to be a part of or represent streetwear. And that's just bullshit." - Rashad Rabdolph, MAM Couture Boutique
Anybody can wear anything. Streetwear is more about what you’re comfortable in and what you want to share about yourself. It’s not just an identifier of a group of people.
Rashad also noted that a common misconception about street style is that not all brands follow a fashion calendar.
We’re used to seeing spring/summer and fall/winter collection released by brands, but it’s not always the case for streetwear. Some designers choose to drop what they want when they want it.
Rashad follows a similar principle at MAM Couture Boutique and said that he doesn’t have trouble keeping track of what’s rotating through the shop.
For him, it’s all about what he’s feeling at the time rather than adhering to a fashion calendar. “If I feel like tie-dying a bunch of shirts tonight, I’m going to tie-dye some shirts.”
The Future of Street Style
It also always seems to be at the forefront of fashion. We’re seeing the newest and most out-of-the-box designs happen within that realm. It’s tough to predict exactly where it’s going to go.
In Rashad’s opinion, he sees more collaborations and a continuous effort to improve existing products to make them a lot better. Within street style, the highest form of acknowledgement is someone copying your idea or adding to it (with the exception of full on counterfeiting).
Street Style Collaborations Will Continue
We’re going to keep seeing designers collaborate, like we have with Nike x Off White or Converse x CDG, and continue to see existing products evolve.
What I personally love most about this is that street style is also fostering such a collaborative environment for artists and designers.
A lot of smaller streetwear designers and brands don’t have the money to manufacture completely new pieces for their collections. They don’t have early investors or funding. So one way they begin building their inventory is by getting creative with ready-made pieces (using ready-made means like we talked about before).
Customizing your Street Style Outfit
In our styling session, Rashad pulled a Brixton flannel off the rack and began to customize it with his own details. He first pressed his own logo onto the back of the shirt and then continued to cut the sleeves off to finish his intended look.
I was definitely taken back at first, but then I figured it was his store so he made the rules.
Make your Outfit Your Own.
He was doing exactly what he explained: taking ready-made pieces and making them into one-of-a-kind statement items.
That way, you’re getting something custom that no one else has. That’s how you get to show off your personality and how different brands and designers are continuing to create new pieces and improving on existing ones.
Is the Street Style Space Crowded?
With all this unique customization from little brands and from big brands that have made their way into the space, like Dior and Balenciaga, I asked Rashad if it felt like it was too crowded. To my surprise, he welcomed all the competition.
The bigger companies are seeing the blueprints from smaller brands and making more out of them. Rashad was excited to see designers come from the mud and pave the way by working with these bigger brands and allow for fair competition between small and large fashion houses. There was no sign of feeling threatened. There is room for everyone in street style!
Street Style Outfit Components
Layering is a big part of street style. In the outfit that Rashad put me in, he was attentive to how the hoodie layered over the tee, allowing the tee to be visible. He also paid close attention to the button up shirt layered over the hoodie to add visual depth to the entire outfit.
Street Style Essentials: Layering and Customizing
Like I mentioned before, customization is a big part of streetwear as well. Rashad even went and cut into the side of the hoodie to give it some flare and personality. It’s all about what you want to share and how you want to look.
We finished off the first outfit with a fedora, ripped denim, and the high tops I was wearing.
Mix Traditional and Modern Items to Build an Outfit
When it comes to street style, it’s about mixing different elements to create your own look. We took traditional items, like the hat, and mixed them with modern and rugged elements, like the ripped shirt and distressed denim.
I’m not sure I’ve said it enough, but there are no rules!
Street Style Wrap Up
Street style is more than just a fad and a trend sweeping pop culture. It’s a style that has become a true art form for the brands, designers, and wearers that are involved.
I was lucky to get the opportunity to break down the street style basics with Rashad at his shop and hope you take the time to watch the full video!
For the full interview and conversation, check out the video with Rashad and MAM Couture Boutique down below.
Let me know if you learned something new about street style or if you're ready to try it for yourself!