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Women in streetwear

Nah fam, dye it pink

Tuesday was international Women’s day, and just like it says, it’s a date in which womanhood is celebrated worldwide. As there are women in The Basement, a thread created to celebrate this date was inevitable; with both men and women contributing. However one comment caught my eye; ‘what about international men’s day’. Well, men haven’t been systematically oppressed as women have so there is no need to celebrate a society wide dominance. To keep it short and sweet, I’m for equal rights in EVERY aspect, regardless of gender, race, skin colour, sexual orientation or religious beliefs.

This comment did get me thinking though, my mind eventually pondering on one question; ‘what impact do women have on streetwear?’,  Obviously there were questions I had looking at the bigger picture of the relationship between the sexes, but for me personally, I felt like this struck a bit closer to home.

VashtieVashtie – Image credit Vashtie’s blog


At first glance, some would say that women play a very little role in the scene as a whole; that’s not to say there aren’t female icons or trendsetters, its simply to say that the scene is very heavily male dominated, and that women rarely get the recognition for their efforts. Why is it that so? Well I’m not sure entirely, but I personally don’t think the prior is true; I believe women and femininity play a MASSIVE role in the streetwear game. I believe as streetwear fans we owe a lot to women, whether its influencers, creatives or talents, they’ve manged to ‘girl up’ streetwear, and we haven’t even noticed.


Angie dita missbish

Angie Dita – Image credit Missbish

No idea what I’m on about? Well to be entirely honest neither do I. I’m shacked up in a hotel in Newcastle hungover, trying to write a coherent passage of writing and successfully doing the opposite.

The main influences for street wear (hip hop, urban sports) being male dominated, mean the women who were into those things just wore the same stuff as the guys. So women who went into those things just wore what the guys wore. Look at the dapper Dan couture track suit customisation, what he did in terms of combining bright colours, patterns and alternative silhouettes to create one off bespoke pieces. Probably one of the earliest and most notorious customizers.  In essence, you could almost say street wear was essentially unisex but with a masculine edge. It’s only as women came into their own in these pastimes that their influences became more strongly felt in the clothing. Through the likes of celebrities, influencers, artists and other talents, women’s presence in streetwear was becoming more prominent, and brands started to adjust to the ever increasing presence. Dropping women’s lines along with men’s, looking at agender collections (check the agenda pop-up Selfridges had in-store).

Dapper Dan

Image credits dazed digital

I personally believe that the more women getting recognition for their efforts, the more women being recognised as equals, is making for a more agenda streetwear scene, in which clothing isn’t strictly men’s or women’s. More men wearing fitted clothing, fabrics that hug silhouettes, women wearing baggier clothes that hide the physique (this was tradition in Japanese culture, for women to dress to ‘hide’ their bodies). I’m fucking excited. I can’t wait for labels to be dropped, and for people to dress how they want to. More importantly, I can’t wait for the fashion industry to recognise talent without contemplating gender, skin colour or religious belief. Call me Martin Luther King Jr, because ‘I have a dream’. And it’s only a matter of time before its realised.

Agender campaign. PHOTO MATT WRITTLE © copyright Matt Writtle 2014.
Agender campaign.
© copyright Matt Writtle 2014.

Image credit Matt Writtle


Written by Tayler Prince-Fraser

Special thanks to Phil Calvert for the help