The "Alternative" Issue
Today, it's easy to lament how back-in-the-day niche things have become mainstream, or how "our" once-underground culture has gone global. Long-time collectors say sneaker culture is dead, lost to resellers, bots, and backdoor deals. Old heads agonize over how once-mighty hip-hop has devolved into "mumble" rap, devoid of the bars and lyrical play that once defined the genre. OGs of the clothing trade say "streetwear" has lost its edge, with many designers now rejecting the term full-stop, calling it out as meaningless. Obsolete.
There's no denying the fact that there's some truth to these concerns. The things Highsnobiety has covered from day one are all way more popular than they ever were before. Which means, yes, certain aspects have been watered down and once-niche trends are now everywhere. It can be frustrating to see your favorite looks, sounds, and standards co-opted by those who could not have cared less a few short years ago ‰ÛÓ especially when their motives might feel less "pure," more corporate. "Streetwear," "street culture," and "influencer" have become a hollow buzzwords.
The thing is, no matter what label you use to define this world ‰ÛÓ no matter who else is involved, how wide "the culture" spreads, or how they try to box or package us ‰ÛÓ vibrant underground scenes, inspiring creative movements, and rebellious young spirits will always exist. Even in a world of carefully curated social media accounts and (sometimes eerily) targeted digital marketing campaigns, there are still independent thinkers pushing through with authentic, exciting new work and thriving on their own terms.
With this in mind,åÊThey chose the theme of "Alternative" for this issue of Highsnobiety.