What’s Next for Streetwear: Luxury Designers & Retailers Tackle a Complicated Question

Sneakers didn’t own the runway during Fashion Month this season, but they still reign at retail and on the street. While some insiders said the explosive growth of the category is leveling off, the long-term impact of the streetwear revolution is notable.

“Boots are definitely back in as the ‘it’ shoe of the season,” said Alberto Oliveros, GMM at Level Shoes in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. “However, I don’t think this will affect sneakers in any way. The trend is very much alive and well, and that sense of comfortable luxury will prolong the [momentum] further. They are still performing extremely well, and I anticipate that they will continue to do so.”

“Streetwear is here to stay because people are not going back to suits,” added GCDS co-founder and creative director Giuliano Calza. “Even if [formal] is the next sartorial trend, there are too many consumers out there who want easy things to wear every day. It’s going to be more organic, in a way.”

GCDS Sneakers Fall '19
A fall ’19 sneaker from GCDS.
CREDIT: Courtesy Image

To that end, Giuseppe Zanotti said he was trying to put the “emotion” of a sneaker into more dressed-up looks. “I tried to put a lot of details from streetwear and the sneaker universe on a high heel — some neon color, new materials. I want to make stilettos more technological, to do some elegant shoes that are less boring,” Zanotti said, noting that the explosion of streetwear has completely changed the landscape in the past few years. “It’s not only ready-to-wear or shoes or fashion. It’s a social evolution. It’s global. It’s digital.”

Now designers need to understand what’s next, Zanotti said. “This is a challenge for me and a lot of other people.”

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Prada’s fall ’19 combat boot with oversized lug soles and wraparound zippered pouches attached to the calf.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director at Net-a-Porter, said she’s noticing the chunky sneaker evolving into a hybrid hiking boot silhouette.

Gucci has done this very well. Overall, streetwear seems to be gravitating toward alternative definitions of cool comfort in the form of combat and hiking boots, and chunky Chelsea ankle styles from brands such as Prada, Miu Miu and Moncler.

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