The designation is not about silhouettes, those can remain standard. “What’s really been working is basics with some flair and a little twist,” Cannon said, citing Alternative Apparel’s destroyed tee—a crewneck with some frayed edges and a worn look—as working great for the company.
LESSON 3: FINDING REAL-WORLD EXAMPLES
There’s no better way of finding out what’s “street” than by actually hitting it. For a Mountain Dew campaign Flynn once worked on, the company was promoting its product toward skateboarders. He went right to the source. “I researched the skateboard companies to see what they’re doing, and what the kids are wearing when they ride,” Flynn said. He found they were cutting up their clothing, drawing on it in marker, sewing on patches—basically, anything to make it more unique to the wearer. “We watch and see what’s going on so when people come to us, we have a grip [on it],” he added.
Though this seems like standard fare for a designer such as Flynn, distributors would do well to follow his lead. Don’t suggest styles to an end-user in a vacuum. Knowledge of what’s going on in urban fashion can only help both client and distributor make the best, most market-friendly decisions.
LESSON 4: GETTING IT TOGETHER
Finally, no trend tutorial would be complete without a mention of accessories. In the urban wear category, they’re starting to matter more than ever. Hats and bags are particularly popular and bundling them with apparel promotions has been a draw for both Cannon and Flynn. “Our headwear always continues to do well for us and it’s easy when you’re merchandising … to have a hat with the shirt,” Cannon said.
For Flynn, the benefit of grouping different pieces is its overall design cohesiveness. “You really have no consistency unless you really sit down and put together a game plan,” he affirmed. Showing end-buyers the multitude of ways a logo can be applied to an entire apparel lineup (shirt, hat and bag, for example) will give a company more opportunities to get branding out to the masses, and the wearer an element of choice.