Labels look to get streetwear back in fashion in NY

Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:03pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Baggy jeans and oversized T-shirts used to be everywhere from the city streets to the runways of designer labels, but these days sportswear and urban lines are looking to create new, niche looks.

Urban labels, traditionally inspired by city youth culture and underground music, say they want to reinvigorate a streetwear look that grew too mainstream, corporate and overcrowded with brands by music stars such as Sean "Diddy" Combs and Jay-Z.

"Streetwear lost its focus over the last five or six years because it became this generic way of dressing," said Gerlan Jeans designer Gerlan Marcel, 33, who launched her collection of bubble gum colored prints in New York last year.

"Some of us are now looking to do things fundamentally different."

At New York's Fashion Week, hip hop label Baby Phat featured acid-washed denim hot pants and gold bikinis, aimed at younger, hipper consumers, founder Kimora Lee Simmons said.

"My style is now chic fashion, just as much as it is hip-hop and rock-and-roll," said Simmons, a former model who launched the label with hip-hop record label Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, her former husband.

Other higher-end urban labels have relaunched their images from the days when everything was big and baggy.

Tommy Hilfiger, for one, is returning to its "preppie" roots, Chief Executive Fred Gehring said.   Continued...