Excellence is a lofty standard that takes a keen eye and keen dedication to achieve. This holds true no matter the medium. Great art takes sacrifice, great athleticism takes discipline, and great fashion takes an intense understanding of style. There are no hacks or secrets to achieving this success: It's pure dedication mixed with inspiration.
The absolute peak of the garment industry is high fashion, also known as haute couture.
What Is Haute Couture?
High fashion and haute couture are often used interchangeably to describe thoughtful, cutting-edge designs in the world of fashion. The actual definition of the words are slightly more nuanced and even requires specific guidelines in France.
Haute couture started in the 19th century with the designer Charles Frederick Worth. Worth created apparel for specific clients to greater specificity than ever. He allowed his clients to choose specific colors, different fabrics, and other elements to enhance their designs. The result was hand-made, one-of-a-kind garments for each of his customers.
Making individualized pieces for specific high-profile clients is one of the legal requirements for a brand designated as haute couture. Brands must also produce a series of 50 garments or more twice a year, in the summer and winter.
Haute couture designers must also maintain workshops with at least 15 full-time staff members. The result is a regimented definition of haute couture that has seen many high-end designers fall off the list and then come back.
Haute couture is not necessarily a metric for quality by these qualifications alone. The result of them is that a fashion house that lacks in quality would not be able to function.
Haute couture is an undeniably French movement that has seen international popularity. It results in exclusive, luxury garments that are personalized expressions of style. The amount of time a custom-built, handmade garment requires could not allow anything else.
The way haute couture evolves over time is indicative of the broader movements of the fashion world. Streetwear is increasingly entering the world of high fashion. This is an exciting development, as many fundamentals that make streetwear special seemingly go against high fashion.
High Fashion and Streetwear: Rivals Made Collaborators
Haute couture results from burgeoning fashion houses creating custom-made garments for individuals. By the nature of the style, these individuals reside among the wealthy and respected.
In contrast to this, streetwear emerged as a style designed for regular people with exceptional fashion sense. Streetwear is associated with the track jacket, the casual tee, and coveted footwear like sneakers.
The earliest streetwear brands emerged in urban areas with rich subcultures. Surfers, skaters, athletes, and hip hop fans made some of the largest streetwear brands what they are today. These designs were influenced by sportswear trends and were often produced and drip-fed on a regular basis to its wearers.
Street fashion, though it can now be seen on some runways, started and still maintains a markedly different marketing style. Haute couture is defined by seasonal releases of massive product lines. Streetwear brands more often release periodic drops, sometimes on a weekly basis, in order to maintain interest.
The drop model makes fashion more accessible. If someone misses a product launch, another will come along again soon enough. It also helps keep interest high, as seen by the pervasive nature of sites dedicated solely to tracking drops.
Streetwear designers, when starting out, are often self-run initiatives with small, dedicated groups. This sort of tight-knit nature also goes against the “fashion house” model of design. Streetwear brands are also more likely to collaborate with high-profile figures than to create custom designs and accessories for them.
Streetwear and haute couture are at first glance incompatible. One is firmly in the status quo of the elite, and the latter seeks to revolutionize everything that fashion is. A closer inspection reveals that while streetwear may lack the legal definition of high fashion, they both maintain similar virtues.
What Qualities Make Streetwear High Fashion?
The qualities that make streetwear high fashion are often those that make high fashion desirable in the first place.
- Exclusivity: In haute couture, exclusivity is attained through a high price point and custom-made designs. Streetwear instead attains exclusivity through a small batch size, which limits the number of individual versions of a garment.
Getting your hands on a new piece of streetwear becomes a sort of way to gain social status. The hype behind it is strong enough that review videos of acquisitions from drops are endlessly popular online.
- Quality: As streetwear begins to enter the mainstream, luxury designers are taking notice. This includes fashion houses putting out streetwear and brands emerging with luxury streetwear as their sole focal point. When a garment is carefully designed and only uses the best available materials, legal definitions of high fashion are moot.
Leadership: Fashion houses and streetwear designers alike are known for the leadership that backs their creative vision. Their names become a byword for specific virtues, standards, qualities, and aesthetic components. As designer begets desire, the line between high fashion and exclusive streetwear begins to blur.
Desire: A defining feature of luxury fashion is that the evocation of a name is enough to stir admiration and jealousy. High-quality pieces are desirable for everything that goes into the creation of them. Whether that piece came from a French fashion house or a local, quality designer has little bearing on its place.
Streetwear will likely never define the legal world of haute couture. That hasn’t stopped designers from adopting this style which originated and grew primarily on the streets. Streetwear will continue to be in the same echelon as haute couture for the personal, iconoclastic style it provides.
What To Look For From Your Apparel
A discerning eye matters in the way you add to your closet—the person who is wearing a piece matters just as much, if not more, than the garment itself.
A few tricks can help you find your ideal pieces:
Know Your Style: The way you dress speaks to how you plan to move through the world. Few can truly fit any style, and likely few would want to. Everyone has certain types of clothing or textures they prefer above others. Know what yours are and if you choose to go beyond your comfort zone, do so with confidence.
Designers Who Belong: Brand names have power, signifying plenty about a designer's background, future, and desires. Stick with brands that have a strong sense of personal identity to make yours stand out all the stronger.
At Daniel Patrick, we believe in luxury sportswear and inform this design standard with visuals inspired by multicultural Los Angeles.
- Quality Above All Else: Luxury materials and avant-garde designs are the marks of designers who desire to provide the best and anticipate the future. Look for local production, deliberate fits, and other signifiers to see if a designer is truly legitimate.
Daniel Patrick believes that anyone with the right effort can perfect their unique sense of style. We’re next going to provide our recommendation for a forward-looking outfit combining luxury streetwear with the exclusivity of high fashion.
Our Luxury Recommendations
Any outfit composed of separates needs a base garment for all other choices to refer back to. Our base is the Loop Terry Standard Hoodie, selected for its uncompromising style and unparalleled comfort.
Classic elements like rib cuffs and a kangaroo pocket at the waist are present. Daniel Patrick's signature designs like a back center seam and tonal embroidery at the center chest enhance a timeless silhouette.
The Loop Terry Standard Hoodie is made from locally milled loop terry for the luxurious softness the material provides. An oversized fit adds to the comfort of the fit and makes pairing other pieces for distinct looks highly viable.
Our first pairing recommendation is the Loop Terry Standard Sweatshort. The thigh-length legs are contrasted by a drawcord that dangles below the knee for a multitiered drape. Tonal embroidery at the left thigh further upgrades the appearance of these shorts. 13 different colorways provide an assortment of aesthetics for bold and neutral color palettes alike.
All that remains is the final pairing layer to tie the outfit together. The Roaming Cloak blends the formal and casual in a single garment. The formality of the shawl collar is contrasted by rib cuffs, drop shoulders, patch pockets, and an unfinished hem.
The result is a capsule wardrobe essential that blurs the same lines streetwear blurs in the world of fashion for true versatility. This garment brings the formality of a blazer but can pair just as well with a white t-shirt and distressed denim pants.
The Roaming Cloak is made from garment-dyed, heavyweight fleece for warmth in mild weather. The casual nature of hoodies and sweats is upgraded in this outfit by a genre-bending cloak. This latest evolution in streetwear proves that it belongs in the world of high fashion by quality and style together.
Where To Wear Your High Fashion Wardrobe
Versatility is the keyword defining streetwear. This style of clothing is as at home on the runway as it is out running. Every stitch of thread is intentional; every fabric tuck well-planned.
Wear your high street streetwear anyplace that you feel you may want to. The beauty of the movement lies in its ability to bring the allure of high fashion anywhere, in pure practicality.