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Bombers & baseball: the urban mega-trend

Slogan tees, sweaters, bomber jackets & baseball shirts are the low-key items gracing international celebs. What's driving fashion's preoccupation with urban clothing?
Bombers & baseball: the urban mega-trend | EDITED
  • Rihanna by Vibe Vixen - EDITD
  • Cara Delevigne street style - EDITD
  • EDITD Urban Trend performance
  • EDITD Urban Trend price architecture

Streetwear has recently broken out from urban subculture to become a mainstream segment across the market in North America, Europe and Asia. In the last 12 months, we’ve seen retailers expand their sports and casual wear lines, both of which draw influence from the urban and street scenes. H&M are even launching standalone sportswear stores.

In the last few years, high end brands such as Alexander Wang and 3.1 Phillip Lim have increasingly referenced streetwear, giving rise to the prevalence and success of the sports luxe trend. This has spurred a whole host of collaborations that have added kudos and traction to the market, including designers pairing up with sports brands (Hussein Chalayan for Puma, Jeremy Scott for Adidas).

Social media has given increased visibility to popular celebrities whose style is influenced by the urban and street scene. Rihanna’s style leans heavily on 90s subcultures, and this has gone on to see her collaboration with UK retailer River Island sell phenomenally well. And of course, Kanye West’s forays into the fashion world sent strong messages to the urban market and ruffled feathers at traditionalist fashion media publications.

The streetwear trend is one of fashion’s first major market expansions that comes as a direct influence of Gen Y, whose spending power and consumption levels will continue to steer the industry in the coming years. The prevalence of social media and the decline in print is, in part, responsible for the levelling of the fashion industry’s playing field; opinions are shared in seconds, and peer groups steer each other’s tastes on a global scale. Not only are retailers directly drawing on this, but as fashion’s leaders shift from editors to bloggers and street style stars, the luxury market is also listening to the new tastemakers.

The global visibility of the performers on the Forbes list such as Dre, Coombs, JayZ and Kanye West has huge influence over young consumers’ tastes. But look again at those Forbes lists and you will also see Zara’s Amancio Ortega, LVMH’s Bernard Arnault and H&M’s Stefan Persson, whose companies have just as much swing on popular culture. It’s when those celebrity influencers and fashion powerhouses act in sync that market growth takes on rapid pace – and that’s what’s happened with streetwear.

EDITD’s software monitors what’s selling (and what’s not!) at retailers and brands, globally – which gives our clients extensive insight into the demand behind specific trends. Right now, we’re seeing strong movement in slogan t-shirts and bomber jackets spanning the luxury, premium and mass markets for both men’s and womenswear.

Drilling down into commercial specifics helps retailers understand the life span of a trend. Comparing the number of new products arriving this month (1st June-25th June) with six months ago (1st-25th December) we can understand the growth rate – and retailers can decide if there’s still time to act upon it. Looking at four of the major trends around the urban story (baseball shirts, slogan sweaters, slogan tees and bomber jackets), we see that there has been huge growth recently in baseball shirts, with a 183.7% increase in product arrivals. Slogan sweaters and tees have also seen big surges in product numbers. Only baseball jackets have slowed marginally,  which given seasonality isn’t surprising.

A deeper level of analysis reveals sell-through rates (number of days it takes a product to sell out), average pricing and discount and restock rates. Slogan tees, with the lowest average price (£20.69), fastest sell-through rate (53 days) and low rate of discounting (36% of slogan tee products online currently are reduced) are an ideal trend for the mass market to invest in.

Baseball shirts, which saw a 183.7% spike in new product arrivals, have seen the least discounting of the four trends, at just 31.4% reduced. But retailers shouldn’t be fooled by the sudden growth; already at an average price of £32.44, this trend came in at mass market level and will stay there, signalling they’re unlikely to survive beyond AW 13/14. Bomber jackets, despite the June dip in new product, are a more resilient trend. The price spread on full-priced bomber jackets is vast at £8-£7,393 and they have a high restock rate of 10.1%. The graph to the right shows a great deal of products around mass-market and luxe levels, but not as much around premium. It could be time to move this trend down into premium high street price points.

Slogan sweaters, despite having far fewer products currently retailing, are the trend with the most potential. They’ve seen the second highest growth rate, behind baseball shirts, and occupy a higher average price of £43.77. Behind slogan tees, they’ve got the second fastest average sell-through rate (62 days), a lower level of discounting than tees and baseball shirts and a promising ratio of products across a range of price points. As retailers add to their Autumn ranges, this trend will be one to watch.

There will continue to be growth in the youth market as spending power of this segment is so high; they’re big consumers, continually seeking newness. So long as the culture of the youth market is entwined with urban and hip hop, and those consumers are talking about these references online globally, product will continue to sell well. Urban wear’s influence on luxury fashion will grow too, as this market attempts to appeal to the older Gen Y consumers, as they move into professional lifestyles.