“When the fashion industry first began to describe a style of dress that emerged in the 1990s among certain young men in places such as Washington, Los Angeles and New York, it settled on the words ‘street’ and ‘urban.’
The terms referred to a look that enthusiastically embraced athletic references, leaned to oversize silhouettes and had an undercurrent of defensive aggression. The clothes were not so much about status as tribalism. They were pricier than a Gap T-shirt or Champion sweatpants, but they were far from the realm of the rarefied.
With their choice of adjectives, fashion insiders pushed the distinctive look to the side. It was the purview of black kids, Latino teens and other young folks who commuted through their world. Though the aesthetic had been born on America’s vibrant streets and among its aspiring youth, it was not deemed “Americana.” That term was reserved for field jackets and buffalo plaid shirts.”
–Robin Givhan in the Washington Post on streetwear’s relationship to fashion.