New York street style inspires high fashion

The streets of New York City were not always as elegant as they are today – but they have long been a launching pad for fashion.

The cutting-edge wardrobes of artists such as Jay-Z are arguably inspired by New York street style of the 1980s, and legendary director Martin Scorsese has held a fascination with Manhattan fashion in his films, from Taxi Driver to The Wolf of Wall Street.

Today's New York style takes on a galaxy of subcultures far removed from the muscle and violence of the 1846 street gangs involving Italians and Irishmen.

Urban tribes

Subcultures inspiring top designers include the skater, rapper, jazz bar patron and creatives of all disciplines, who influence labels including Jeremy Scott, Alexander Wang, Juun.J, Zanerobe and ACNE.

Designers often go back in time to produce current collections with twists and turns on cuts and textiles to keep the looks current and to avoid your grandpa's closet being annihilated with your treasure hunting eagerness.

The clothes on the streets around the recent New York and Paris Fashion Weeks featured khaki, ponchos, bombers, London leg-lengths, distressed boots and camouflage.

Off-White, Comme des Garcons, Junya Wantanabe, Bape and APC are designers not to be ignored when conceptualising a modern look that resonates New York street style.

Sound of the street

Music is intrinsically linked to fashion in New York and many musos are drawn to the precision of tailoring and the risk of creating something that will be accepted by the underground crowd. New York's DJs, producers and musicians are elegantly donning Dior Homme, Saint Laurent, Rick Owens and G-Star Raw.

The fashion scene is well documented by the godfather of street style photography, Bill Cunningham, who knows everyone from the upper echelon socialites to the people on the street. This 87-year-old photographer is often seen front row at Fashion Week and yet, lives humbly in a small artisan apartment in the centre of the city.


Cunningham himself has had his style adapted by fashion leaders across Europe. Commonly seen in a blue wet weather jacket usually worn by construction workers which he picked up in a side street in New York, he has lit a fire to creatives who aspire to his level of career longevity and moral ethics.

The influence of street style is so pronounced that its authority cannot be denied. What do you find pulling into focus when you're rushing to work in the morning? Looking out for these tiny symbols will indicate the inner style that you will be most comfortable in and can help build your wardrobe with pieces that embody your subculture and success.

Scroll through the gallery to see how current collections interpret NYC street style. 

Experience within retail trend analysis companies has earned Louise Edmonds cred in the luxury menswear sector. The founder of utilises her passion and understanding of fashion to deliver a fresh, edgy take on men's style.