Le Fruit Defendu’s List of the 25 Best Streetwear Brands in the US
Streetwear is happening. The state of fashion is evolving. For the longest time, clothes existed to conform and service societal expectations. But in the last few years, a new beauty is emerging. As technology continues to transform our world, our vision, and our vision of the world—streetwear in particular has become, for better or worse, an object of intense, passionate, animal desire. It is something to seek, to trace out in dank corners of the city, and to believe in—like a philosophy. (That itself speaks of love and the desire to know something forbidden.) And so, we, Le Fruit Defendu, would like to take a chance. We want to, for the first time, give our perspective on this intense, electric climate. We want to celebrate those brands who live bravely among the grey, old figures in fashion today. In fact, we want to go further than other brands dare to go—and not simply in our silhouettes. Our twenty five selections are, in fact, the spit-and-image of unapologetic, industrial futurism. They do not only capture an entire movement in all its vicious diversity, but they push, and heave, and blast out our notions of what streetwear can be. This list is not a toy. These twenty five souls of streetwear represent what’s now, and what’s next. That is the core of our mission: with this list, we want to read the signs. Let’s predict and celebrate what will define this subculture’s goings on, its happenings, and of course its sticky affair with good taste. Though this list appears in no particular order, you will not find it completely devoid of structure. In our analysis, there is a texture to streetwear, a kind of throbbing vein, that leads to the heart of a young, boisterous movement. It’s name is better, bolder, and more shockingly, tragically beautiful. Let’s begin.
Bringing luxury to streetwear, Demna Gvasalia shows us how to enter the world of fashion with a bang. The label is known for innovation and diversity and causing a stir with all the drama of a runway. Check out their side-eye to good taste in its uncharacteristic take on the Birthday T-shirt.
This cartel is about the kill shot in the dark. Mixing modernism with minimalism, the label is all about resistance against the end of fashion. They are known for their cartel jacket worn by the likes of Rihanna, Willow Smith, and Kehlani among others.
Perhaps not just in the US, the Comme Des Garcon house’s label in Play deserves more than mention. The line may be more subtle than Kawakubo’s vision but it makes up for audacity through being iconic. In stripes and solids, Play solidifies its spot on our list with a little heart.
Streetwear knows how to do things differently, and perhaps none more so than The Hundreds. Doubling as a media platform dedicated to street culture, this site and label was founded by Bobby Kim and Ben Shenassafar in California through covetous t-shirts and denim.
Not just a brand but a version of living, Supreme reigns king of New York City through limited releases that send lines around city blocks. Catering to a combination of skate, rock, and urban culture, Supreme is not to be missed. They produce all kinds of hard-t0-attain items, even skateboards.
Operating from the US since the early 90’s, the brand HUF has blown the house down over and over. Deeply rooted in the culture of skateboarding, HUF is nothing short of legendary, even in its not-often-enough collaborations with Diamond Supply Co
It’s not all vinyl and leather in the desert of the real. Foulplay is a brand that teases out the experiences of subcultures through thoughtful, critical streetwear to display all that is not glamorous. The line is known for classic motifs known to Pheonix and the West that make it one of the most interesting, unique brands on this list.
In the aesthetic of a coldest war, SSUR is known for camo prints, bleak imagery, and sub-brands that put out T-shirts repped by people like A$AP Rocky. Streetwear legend and ferocious collaborator, SSUR is on our list because it represents another look at the future of the profane city.
From humble beginnings as a graphic tee brand from the 80’s, Shawn Stussy built an empire. The label is known for its eye-catching designs that bring presence to the chest. Born in California, it’s another example of the fashion fun to be had with staples like the graphic tee.
Death. Identity. Government. What does the future hold? Is there a future? If there is a brand with a philosophy at heart, it is Blvck Scvle who creates not merely clothes but entire works of art. Check out some of the accessories they have designed in collaborations, and weep.
Dripping wet with unique colors, Billionaire Boys Club makes our list as a giant assault on the boredom implicit in safe fashion. Started by the founder of BAPE and Pharrell, the line brings a unique twist on classic BAPE designs. Their sneakers are not to be missed.
Endorsed by the likes of Kanye West and Jay Z, Crooks and Castles is forever implanted in our bionic, cultural memory. In addition to being a brand, they are a concept. Their way of approaching casual wear shows this through unexpected, fresh designs that kill us.
Take over the runway, and never let it be the same. That seems to have been Off-White’s sole mission. Working alongside Kanye and Fendi, Virgil Abloh has successfully melded the realms of culture and couture. He is forward-thinking and futuristic in his approach with bold, distinct designs.
Grabbing the attention of A-listers like Diddy, Lamar, and Jay Z, Dope has a direct line to our fashion arteries. Since its launch in 2007, it has climbed and climbed to unforeseeable heights. What is responsible for this assent? A relentless focus on innovation.
Starting in 1995, 10 Deep makes some of the most desired and quality streetwear that you can buy. Their designs are known for total synthesis and complete integration in every piece. True masters of the craft of garment construction, 10 Deep is on our list for representing excellence.
Tattoo our souls with Rebel 8. Known for their roots in tattoo, graffiti and skateboard subculture, the brand makes an effort to keep things classy and looking expensive even while balancing a feel for the grit of the street.
We, at Le Fruit Defendu, are a god-fearing people when it comes to fashion. Fear of God designs not for the season, not for the moment, but forever. Their silhouettes are imagined to last for eternity. And, as far as we can tell, they do.
Starting as a cult merchandise line, GOLF has come to hit the hip-hop and streetwear cultures hard. Tyler the Creator is responsible for the genre-bending collaborations with Converse and this line that represents the best way to sell out: with style.
It is popular to follow the crowd. And, there is no shortage of crowds who represent the imagery and cultural criticism that sits in Shepard Fairey’s work. The brand is a fresh look at how to make the political into a physical statement of personal propaganda.
We haven’t seen this before. Kanati takes influences from the aboriginal and native american to craft artwork and cut-and-sew clothing into a memorable brand and following. They are a true, underground icon in the game.
Known for sneakers and for being streetwear kings, Eddie Cruz and James Bond founded this brand to sell more than clever t-shirts. Partnering with BAPE, Union, and Timberland, they continue to refine the look of the street.
Formerly an employee of the unforgettable Supreme brand, Angelo Baque has his own vision of the urban jungle in Awake. Branding everything from basketballs to flan, Awake blends art with a little urban cheekiness.
Based in New York, Aime is what happens when you filter preppy culture through the lens of 90’s hip-hop. The pieces are wearable sportswear that splash in the face of good taste.
Hailing from LA, what started as a boutique has grown into a luxury brand which sells sneakers, pendants, and hoodies. Their collections are a treasure trove of craftsmanship that is ready for the street.
What is forbidden often tastes the sweetest. A brand of unconscious desires, of dark dreams, of unspeakable desires, LFD has taken New York by Storm through never-before-seen designs with global reach.
Quirky tees splashed with over the top printed graphics are the staples of Undercover. Once widespread in 90’s fashion in Tokyo, Undercover has grown into one of the most prominent and most respected labels in the streetwear industry. Alongside its fashion-forward luxe sportswear, Undercover’s pieces are also heavily influenced by UK punk. A favourite sub-culture of its founder, Jun Takahashi.
New York footwear creator, Ronnie Fieg is the brainchild behind Kith. The multifaceted label boasts a retail space which houses some of the most coveted names in the sneaker and streetwear world. And also, it’s standalone label. Keith is best known for it’s logo-heavy, urban garments and limited-run of collaborations, with some pretty unexpected brands. Team-ups have included Bugaboo, the luxury pram manufacturer, and even Coca-Cola. More recently, however, the label teamed up with Tommy Hilfiger to produce a nostalgia-laden capsule collection for Autumn/Winter 18.
Founded by Russian photographer and designer Gosha Rubchinskiy, this eponymous label has quickly become one of the most talked about streetwear brands. Rubchinskiy is earning his fashion stripes under the wing of Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo. The young designer assists the veteran in the production of his seasonal collections as well as developing his own budding brand. Post-soviet youth heavily influences his sports and skatewear designs.
Born and raised in London, A-Cold-Wall* has built a reputation as a genre-bending brand. The label merges the line between haute couture and streetwear. The result is a luxury label with all the flair of street style. Samuel Ross’ designs are recognised all over the globe for their forward-thinking pieces which toe the line between avant-garde and wearable.
If you hail from the states, you may know Carhartt for its workwear. However, its UK division is a streetwear staple from Austria to the UK. Where its English version differs from its American cousin, is its streamlined silhouettes. The UK label also features more contemporary streetwear cuts with skate-centric direction.
Pronounced as ‘double taps’, the Japanese label, WTAPS aesthetic is a lot more simple than its name would suggest. WTAPS comes from a military term which pretty much means kill shot. But, its name isn’t the only thing that is military inspired. The label’s look features baggy cuts, military and workwear influences and Japanese utilitarian styling. Think lots of army green, cargo pants and loose-fitting hoodies, with the occasional preppy Ivy League-style.
Palace stamped the UK firmly on the street style map when it was born in 2010. It is basically the English twin of Supreme and has almost achieved the same status in the motherland. The young label’s aesthetic has also taken cues from sportswear kings, Adidas and Reebok. in fact, it regularly collaborates with the two. Think tracksuits, baseball caps and the occasional snakeskin loafer and smoking crop jacket thrown in the mix too.
Cav Empt was created by Sk8thing. You may know him as the brains behind the iconic graphics of Human Made, Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream – and music industry veteran Toby Feltwell. Cav Empt has carved out its place as a major player in Japan’s street fashion and music scene. The label’s aesthetic has an emphasis on unique prints, utilitarian detailing and futuristic styling. Its unique garments have seen the Japanese streetwear king positioned itself as one of the most sought-after names in this post-streetwear age.