In The Business of Counter-Culture: What Makes a Contemporary Streetwear Brand Successful and How Creativity Influences Brand Differentiation
Streetwear is a category of fashion that has evolved from being a niche style of dress influenced by American counter cultures, into a formidable industry. Over time, Streetwear has become a culture in itself whose members are critical of inauthentic brands and commercialization. Streetwear brands have the need to be perceived as authentic, exclusive, and being connected to celebrity to survive in the industry long-term. Additionally, as the industry grows larger, the marketplace has become increasingly saturated. This can be attributed to how easy it is to create a fledgling streetwear brand due to advances in garment production technology and streetwear's roots in low-cost clothing. Streetwear brands need to differentiate themselves in an effective manner to stand out to consumers in the saturated streetwear market. Primary research conducted via a survey administered to streetwear consumers was done to learn more about the effectiveness of popular tactics and marketplace events streetwear brands use to differentiate themselves. Secondary research was done in literature on the topics of creativity and energized differentiation. Research by Gerzema and Lebar presented in their book The Brand Bubble on the topic of energized differentiation is reviewed and applied to streetwear brands. This thesis will discuss the key elements brands need to have to be successful in the streetwear industry. Along with this, it will also look at the effectiveness of specific tactics bands can execute to effectively differentiate themselves in the saturated industry and the important role creativity plays in their success.