On my way into Livestock, a premier Toronto streetwear store I see a lineup of streetwear lovers there over 16 hours before the store is set to open the next day. Something big is happening. Livestock carries brands the likes of The Hundreds, Billionaire Boys Club, HUF, Herschel, Play Cloths and various other budding streetwear brands. Something unique about the store is that they have a highly coveted Tier 0 account with Nike, meaning they have access to some of the most exclusive kicks out there, an attribute streetwear heads greatly appreciate.
Upon checking the Livestock Facebook page, I discover that it is The Galaxy Foamposite One NRG being released the next day. The galaxy Foamposite is a shoe with a galactic colorway and a glow-in-the-dark sole. As many streetwear lovers around the world dream they could have a place to line up so as to replicate the legendary lineups outside Supreme in New York or any of the famous streetwear retailers on Rosewood Ave. in Los Angeles, Toronto is not lacking in embracing the culture one bit.
As a streetwear lover, I have never been the type to line up outside a store and wait to cop the newest swag. As a Karmaloop (biggest online streetwear retailer) sell-out I have not appreciated exclusivity as much as many of the other Toronto streetwear lovers have, simply because of the lack knowledge of the budding streetwear culture we have in Toronto. Boasting stores like Livestock, The Accessory Bar, Nomad, XTC, etc, Toronto is a hotbed for streetwear culture. Anywhere you go in Toronto, if you look closely enough you are bound to find someone with a Crooks and Castles sweater or a Supreme hat. As long as I have known about these stores, I have not been familiar with the following and adoration of Torontonians that they have.
Streetwear is not just clothing, but rather it is some of the greatest branding ever executed. Streetwear is one of the most interactive clothing genres that exist today. When an exclusive item is about to hit shelves, tweets, tumblr posts, and the like are created rapidly and a buzz is evident. Lineups and orders for the swag these companies are putting out stretch so long you would think it was a lineup for one of those money wind tunnels where one has to catch as much money as they can in a minute. Streetwear promotes acquisition of new products more-so than most other types of clothing that exist today. Brand identity is the catalyst in great streetwear, as brands create a movement rather than just clothing. They create skate teams, sustainability projects, viral videos, etc.
The Future - California and New York have budding streetwear movements, but it has been almost shocking to see Toronto, a a city so in tune with the culture as well as a city with a great art and fashion background not launching it's own premier streetwear brands. In the coming years, myself as well as streetwear lovers across Toronto and the world would love to see the next Primitive or Play Cloths or DGK or 10 Deep launch from our city. Respect to the few, little known streetwear brands Toronto has launched, but let us see some more support for their respective movements. If Herschel Supply Co. could launch from Vancouver, there is no question that a truly respected streetwear brand could be launched from Toronto. Cheers to streetwear, and to Toronto.
Writing contributed by Jeff Bezbrozh.