With the CDC’s recent announcement that vaccinated people can now live largely maskless lives and with Coronavirus cases being at their lowest since the start of the pandemic, we’re looking set to enjoy a real, legitimate, full-on, bonafide summer this year. You know, the type of summer where you can actually go out, explore your surroundings, and meet new people without the fear of endangering them. It’s a big deal, and the perfect opportunity to rock your best fit on the catwalk that is your city’s streets. But it’s been a long time, so you might be struggling to figure out just what to wear.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you. In addition to our weekly sneaker and apparel roundups, we’ve curated a list of the 15 streetwear brands that we think are absolutely killing it in 2021. Once these brands are on your radar, you’ll be stepping out every day of summer 2021 in style. You’re not going to find giant brands like Supreme, Stussy, or Timberland on this list, instead, you’ll find 15 up-and-coming brands that are just a few steps away from becoming household names, and are delivering the kind of cutting edge looks that are attracting the eyes of fashion-forward artists like J Balvin, Billie Eilish, Rosalia, and more.
Here are the 15 streetwear brands you need on your radar for Summer 2021.
Kicking off our round-up is the Japanese jewelry brand turned fashion label Ambush, a brand that delivers a muted earth-toned and minimal aesthetic and offers everything from accessories to jackets, outerwear, and streetwear essentials. Ambush leans a little more high-fashion than it does your typical graphic t-shirt streetwear, but it isn’t so elegant that it’s formal — so you’ll still be able to wear everything from Ambush with a pair of Jordans.
Shop Ambush here.
Chinatown Market announced about two months back that they’d be changing their name due to the growing number of violent acts against Asian-Americans across the US, working with activists Eric Toda and Benny Luo to help usher in a new chapter of the brand. But changing a brand name is a long process, and the brand is still working through some stock under the original banner and hasn’t revealed a new name just yet.
So for now we’re still going to call them Chinatown Market and update this list once the new name is official. All that said, Chinatown Market feels like a brand that picked up where the old Supreme left off. Their drops are fun, lighthearted, and self-aware, and they have a great relationship with their community of fans, constantly interacting on their various social media platforms.
If you’re looking for a brand that feels like a community, it doesn’t get more welcoming than Chinatown Market.
Shop Chinatown Market here.
Los Angeles-based brand Equihua (pronounced e-KEE-wah) delivers San Marcos cobija-inspired outwear, from vibrant floral patterned jackets to hats, hoop earrings, and hoodies featuring San Juditas. It’s loud, colorful, and takes the concept of graphic prints to the next level. Above all, it’s well crafted with premium materials and stunning attention to detail.
Equihua brings an unapologetically Mexican-inspired look to the streetwear space and modern fashion is better for it.
Shop Equihua here.
FINESSE is an interesting brand, we wouldn’t so much attribute the label to a specific city rather it’s a product of the internet, relying on Artificial Intelligence to inform its latest looks. As such, it’s kind of an experiment, sometimes it’s Y2 K-inspired fashion at its finest, while other times it can feel oddly out of place, like some strange sort of uncanny valley take on modern streetwear.
But even when it doesn’t work, it’s at the least interesting, providing great outfits for a photoshoot or some sort of creative project. It’s fashion for art school kids.
Shop FINESSE here.
Beloved by Billie Eilish, LA-based label Freak City has a sort of trashy loud aesthetic that combines graphic prints with graffiti-inspired fonts. The pieces out of Freak City are a mishmash of colors and seemingly random words and graphic designs laid out in a chaotic style reminiscent of early MIA. It’s bratty, brash, and slightly gritty.
Freak City leans a little on the younger side, so if you’re pushing 30, maybe don’t rock a t-shirt with the word “drugs” on it encircled in a heart with a cross through it. Or do!
Shop Freak City here.
Chicago based Joe Freshgoods isn’t exactly up-and-coming, the brand has sort of been a thing since label head Joe Freshgoods was just 15, selling off his first products at Chicago’s Lane Tech high school, but if this brand isn’t yet on your radar you need to remedy that now. Leaning a bit more on the traditional side of streetwear, with staples like sweaters and hoodies, and graphic track pants, Joe Freshgoods focuses on comfort above all else, infusing lots of color to some tried and true streetwear classics.
The brand’s sneaker collaborations are a highlight as well, offering playful takes on classic silhouettes from brands like Converse and New Balance.
Shop Joe Freshgoods here.
Keiser Clark brings seedy LA night culture to the world of streetwear thanks to the brand’s moody nocturnal glamour. If you think you can’t get a lot of mileage out of the color black, you’ve never seen a Keiser Clark lookbook. From deep midnight tones to faded vintage vibes, Keiser Clark is a brand that knows how to play with darkness, offering a glamorous but gritty style to your wardrobe that’ll make you look like the coolest most interesting person in the room at your next late-night gathering.
Shop Keiser Clark here.
The fashion of the ’90s has weighed heavily on modern streetwear, but no brand is doing it quite like London-based brand Lazy Oaf, which combines the vibrant colors and baggy silhouettes of UK rave culture with modern streetwear sensibilities. Playful graphics meet colorful prints at Lazy Oaf and the brand offers everything from your typical streetwear to more lounge-inspired fits and even swimwear.
Oh and did we mention bucket hats? Lazy Oaf has a strong love for bucket hats, so if you do too then this is your brand.
Shop Lazy Oaf here.
Mr. Saturday is another brand that rides that fine line between modern streetwear and luxury fashion, offering elegant high quality ready to wear streetwear in a clean and minimalist aesthetic. Expect oversize silhouettes, attentive tailoring, and a mix of traditional American silhouettes retranslated for the modern age. Mr. Saturday is the only brand able to draw inspiration from out-of-the-box sources, like author Evelyn Waugh or New York’s Paradise Garage and mix it into something that looks undeniably great and brand new alongside modern fashion.
Shop Mr. Saturday Here.
New York-based NOAH might strike you as oddly familiar, and that’s probably because the label was founded by Brendon Babenzien, who cut his teeth over at Supreme. While Supreme has become somewhat predictable and a little safe, NOAH still brings a lot of that early Supreme energy, infusing its skatewear with a clean New Wave-Esque minimalism that is less prankish and childish as Supreme, but just as exciting.
If the boys of New Order got their start in the 2020s rather than the late ‘70s, they’d be rocking NOAH no doubt.
Shop NOAH Clothing here.
READYMADE comes from the mind of Japanese designer Yuta Hosokawa and features mostly upcycled designs that play on vintage U.S. army stylings, doing for olive green what Keiser Clark does for the color black. But READYMADE doesn’t just stop at jackets, the brand drops dope sneaker collaborations, makes furniture, and releases a steady stream of graphic t-shirts that stray far from the brand’s Army aesthetic.
Beloved by Erykah Badu and Travis Scott, READYMADE is perfect for people who dig on utilitarian design.
Shop READYMADE here.
Los Angeles-based RHUDE has come a long way from the brand’s early days of borrowing from classic American iconography (see the brand’s Marlboro-esque logo) and designing graphic t-shirts. Today the brand blurs the line between luxury clothing and ready-to-wear streetwear as a full-blown design house, providing some of the best women and menswear essentials in the streetwear universe.
If you’re rocking RHUDE, you’re rocking the best, along with people like Michael B. Jordan, Justin Bieber, Kendrick Lamar, and Future.
Shop Rhude here.
If you don’t like rats, you’ll never be a fan of Stray Rats but if you feel totally ambivalent to the rodents, then you’ll find a playful Miami-based brand that features all sorts of vibrant graphic t-shirts and streetwear essentials. From hats to jackets, and t-shirts, Stray Rats keeps their looks casual, fun, and simple.
Shop Stray Rats here.
We’ve been big fans of Teddy Fresh for a minute. Since 2017, the brand has consistently gotten better with each year, expanding its offerings from color-block hoodies to a full unisex line of diverse stylings, all dipped in the brand’s iconic pastel aesthetic. While no brand can lay claim to color-blocking, Teddy Fresh really did something special with the style, which has inspired all sorts of copycats around the internet, but no brand can really deliver the same quality as the OG.
From premium fabrics to attentive construction and design, Teddy Fresh is a brand that continues to surprise with every collection. Teddy Fresh’s pieces just glow, catching all the eyes in the room while still holding comfort and wearability above all else, and we love them for that.
Shop Teddy Fresh here. ‘
Utilitarian brand TOMBOGO absolutely blew up last year, capturing the attention of artists like Bad Bunny and Kehlani thanks to label head Tommy Bogo’s unique approach to fashion. Something about TOMBOGO seems very reactive, the collections out of the label have a knack for perfectly reflecting the moment in culture we’re living through, from the brand’s pandemic-inspired Comfort Zone capsule to the work-from-home Freelance collection, to the more earthy and outdoorsy Lost & Found set.
Bogo approaches fashion like a musician, taking in the varying influences and synthesizing them together to deliver something new and unique.
Shop TOMBOGO here.