From New York’s Supreme and Cali’s Stüssy and Obey to Tokyo’s Undercover and Moscow’s Kruzhok, it’s impossible to deny that streetwear has gone global. In addition to being a fashion buzzword and one of the hottest youth clothing trends, streetwear is big, big business, with the industry valued at an estimated 309 billion USD in 2017.
China is no outlier in the world of streetwear fashion, with a hot range of brands emerging from the country. Below, we introduce 10 of our favorite Chinese streetwear brands that you should know about (and stock your closet with!).
1. a.t Between
a.t Between is an apparel brand founded in 2006 in Xiamen, a beach city on China’s southeastern coast. Some compare Xiamen to the Belgian port city of Antwerp because both attract droves of young fashion designers to live, create, and set up shop.
The company was founded by three Xiamen locals who wanted to create a laid-back street style showcasing the lifestyle and vibes of their hometown. According to Tata, one of the founders, people in Xiamen are “dandy in a natural way,” leading the brand’s designers to focus on a combination of comfort and style — with a hint of bizarre humor — in their collections.
SoulGoods is an apparel brand founded in 2016 in China’s cultural center, Beijing. And much like the city in which it was born, the brand is becoming huge.
The founders distinguish their clothing by blending traditional Chinese elements into streetwear. For example, the tiger design in the brand’s logo was inspired by an ancient Chinese totem meant to repel demons.
Image via Taobao
S45/1807 is a hip hop-inspired clothing company headed by some homies from Chengdu who aspire to create a community culture where people can bond with one another while looking good. Their collection of clothing covers head to toe, and the style is casual and saggy, echoing back to classic hip hop esthetics.
For those who still enjoy shopping at a brick-and-mortar outlet, they’ll give you an excellent haircut if you stop by their store in Chengdu.
4. A Few Good Kids
This streetwear brand is operated by hip hop singer and songwriter Masiwei, who you may know from the insanely popular hip hop group Higher Brothers. A Few Good Kids, sometimes referred to as AFGK, is also the name of Masiwei’s music label and was launched after he released an album of the same name in 2019.
A Few Good Kids’ collection varies from top to bottom, and its flashy jackets, with bold and contrasting colors, are worth adding to your kit.
Hong Kong actor Shawn Yue created this apparel brand in 2014 in response to people’s obsession with his personal fashion choices.
The casual street style of MADNESS is distinguished by its liberal use of the color blue and an abundance of denim. Its collection is not extensive but includes everything you need to look cool — jackets, T-shirts, jeans, and sweatshirts, among other clothing items.
Image via Taobao
BIPOLAR comes out of Changsha city in the south-central part of China and is the joint creation of rapper Damnshine and designer Chief John. In creating the brand, the pair wanted to mix the two feelings that bipolar disorder patients experience — extremes of happiness and sadness. Damnshine has said that he has bipolar disorder, which influenced the brand’s name.
BIPOLAR offers a wide range of clothing, and its logo — a modified infinity symbol — is often the primary design element.
7. Avenue and Son
If you love skateboarding, this brand knows what you need. Founded in 2014 by four skaters in Shanghai, Avenue and Son focuses on attire suited to the four-wheeled subculture and has collaborated with major brands like Vans.
In addition to a vast selection of clothing, they also sell skateboards, and they love using reflective materials in their designs to make you shine at night. When the team behind Avenue and Son isn’t hard at work, you’ll find them at the park near their office building — skating, of course.
DOE is a Shanghai-based brand created by Himm Wonn and Terry Zhu in 2014. The duo want the brand to showcase street counterculture, and its clothing doesn’t target one particular demographic. Instead, it represents the youth spirit as a whole — rebellious, unique, and independent.
Himm Wonn is also known for founding China’s first street culture magazine Urban in 2002.
9. TEAM WANG
This apparel brand was founded by Chinese singer and songwriter Jackson Wang in 2020. TEAM WANG’s designs are minimalist, and the brand’s logo is the main repeating element, with the color black featuring prominently in its clothing.
At present, the streetwear brand’s collection only consists of some all-black essentials. But TEAM WANG is just getting started — expect much more to come.
Founded in 2012, this brand was already a big deal before opening its flagship store in Shanghai in 2019. Randomevent has since opened another two shops this year in Beijing and Hangzhou, and it just announced the launch of a new location in Changsha on November 26. The brick-and-mortar outlets stock both international streetwear brands and Randomevent’s own designs.
Compared to other streetwear brands, Randomevent is more experimental with colors and patterns, resulting in unique designs that look eccentric, funky, and fun. The brand aims to produce daily-wear clothing with street fashion elements. They have a pretty diverse collection, and pieces are often more stylish than functional.
Cover image compiled by Sabina Islas