Streetwear has arguably captivated the fashion industry for several decades, influencing different parts of the world and how we dress. What we are seeing as being fashionable today, has strong roots in decades-old surf, skate, and Hip-Hop aesthetics. It is through the renowned international street brands, such as Stussy, Supreme, A Bathing Ape, Undercover and more, that street style has elevated in design. Rendering these brands as venerable leaders in not only the world of streetwear but fashion more broadly.
Nonetheless, Australian and New Zealand streetwear labels are on the rise, headed by the successes of frontrunner brands such as Butter Goods, Ksubi, Perks and Mini, and Afends. However, the underground AU/NZ scene continues to shape the domestic streetwear landscape and revolutionise street style through their own unique practice. So, we decided to delve a little deeper and do some research on which brands are connecting to a wider community of underground street style.
Through striking designs, innovative illustrations, and playful considerations, we’ve identified the 5 Australian and New Zealand brands that grabbed our attention. We even selected some of the standout pieces from their collections, so you can suss what’s on offer for yourself.
Experimental in design, unique with each finish, the label, Performance, has mastered the DIY look as several of their pieces are created through hand-dying techniques. Performance continues to hold it down for Australian streetwear aesthetics, by reinforcing notions of self-expression in fashion, art, and design. Commingling with colours, each garment and accessory takes on a distinct variation of the original print and embeds a sense of individuality throughout.
The items of note that we selected were, as pictured, the black-bleached, dyed tee and the Oversize Bag in grey. We noticed that the tee somewhat engages the imagination through the placement of the bleach – creating its own unique design and intensifying the graphic in certain areas where the colour is most dense. Furthermore, the vibrant pink branding offers a discerning contrast to the darker tones, complimenting the structure of the tee.
Additionally, the Oversize Bag, in our opinion, is the perfect accessory and has great potential to elevate an outfit with respect to its inimitable design. We think that both are the perfect statements pieces for anyone willing to expand their scope of what constitutes street style and showcase the beauty of hand-made items. You can check out Performance’s collection online or in-store by appointment at their space in Fremantle, Western Australia.
Creative hub and self-proclaimed lifestyle brand, Candice, allures you with its radical exploration of colour and nods to culture, genres and the sub-categories that pertain it. Beckoning the streetwear world down south to Melbourne’s creative scene, the team at Candice have opted for a louder, more captivating approach to their designs, separating their aesthetic and brand characteristics from the rest. Drawing from human emotions and implementing the use of personification throughout their creative process, Candice has cemented its identity as fluid and unpredictable.
No doubt, the Miracle Sanctuary Scarf pictured has most people intrigued, as its current sold-out status reflects the power of its distinctiveness and garish illustrations. We loved this item for all the obvious reasons but more importantly, we love how well it fits into the narrative that is Candice – outlandish and chaotic in design. From their latest collection Season 9, which dropped this past September, we are loving the plum My World Knit Sweater that honestly needs no explanation for how great it is. Alas, the plum-cream combo coupled with the boxy cut naturally welcomes the cartoonish graphics with appeal and an appetite for attention.
The work of Candice leaves us feeling very inspired and ready to relinquish all that inhibits our free and experimental creative process.
3. Jungles Jungles
Featuring in Highsnobiety’s ‘Under the Radar’ segment in 2018, Jungles Jungles has captivated the eyes of the underground streetwear world, by curating astute graphics and experimenting with vivid colourways. Housing a selection of ‘Visual Stimuli’ on their website, the concepts that Jungles Jungles explores within their work, is vivacious and street centred. The Australian label has effortlessly taken their market abroad and is currently available in over 30 US stockists and throughout 5 Asia-Pacific countries, namely in stores such as atmos, Dover Street Market and Extra Butter.
What is currently being offered in their online store, is a selection of vintage-inspired designs showcased on shirts, tracksuits, tees, pants, and long sleeves. The assortment is also complemented by select accessories and home-goods items. The Safe Trip linen shirt pictured, depicts an illustration of the mysterious Bermuda Triangle, beside the graphic and text that reads, “The Devils Triangle”. The button down captivated us due to its soft colour palette and explorative design. It is pleasing to see a staple, such as a shirt, elevated with a simple yet striking graphic and style. Similarly, we also enjoyed the Safe Trip to Colorado Beached Tee, but more for its cartoonish busyness and purple glitter-infused ink. The scope of graphical garments that Jungles Jungles offers is steeped in ingenuity, putting the innovative nature of AUS designs on the map.
4. Fragile Minds
“Made from Scratch” and leading the movement of self-sustainment for today’s creatives, Fragile Minds is the Sydney-based independent brand exploring the notion of fragility within contemporary contexts. Adopting a strong influence from graffiti culture, the craftmanship and fun interpretations of Fragile Mind’s collection is what initially lured us in. What we know about the brand is that they dabble in upcycling and are heavy on community, as they strive to incorporate a ‘bigger picture’ motive amongst their creative work.
An item of note from their collection is the FM x By Velvet Sterling Silver ring, offering a weighty, bubble font construction of the Fragile Minds initials. When it comes to contemporary streetwear – details are everything, and so incorporating jewellery is paramount for any look to feel complete. The ring emanates structure, sturdiness, and playfulness in its design as well as symbolising the art of collaboration. We also appreciated the Tactical Cargo Shorts in Silver, which encompasses a weighted feel with a selection of pocket options. The quality of each item is an honest reflection of how Fragile Minds continues to take great care when developing their pieces and affirms that the brand is mindful of its impact. We are really looking forward to embracing their pending Collection 6 and are hopeful that the work of brands like Fragile Minds, will continue to uplift independent creativity in Australia.
Stepping into the streetwear market in 2001, Lower offers a consortium of comfort-centred pieces that are said to take inspiration from their roots in Hip-Hop culture. The New Zealand brand is situated throughout numerous spaces across NZ and has collaborated with a couple of heavy hitters in the industry, namely Champion, G-Shock, and Jansport. Some of their new items consist of simple branding and more colour blocked pieces. However, we were enticed by the looks of their fabric selection, which is giving that quality, heavyweight feel. Therefore, the pieces that stood out to us, were the Baley Knit in green and the Shinjuku Bucket Hat in brown cord. Each item offers a tasteful consideration for material and design, injecting muted colours and for the knit, bold branding as the garnish. Both pieces are adaptable, and it’s clear that whether they are rocked together or individually, the wearer is bound for compliments.
Lower has cleverly showcased how well these items look together, especially in their latest 90s-inspire, lifestyle collection which offers a number of sets. The versatility of their garment selection feeds well into the overall essence of Lower, a brand we feel effortlessly suits one and all.