Best underground streetwear brands emerging in 2021
With streetwear holding such a powerful position with younger buyers, the demand for cheap streetwear brands is rising. There aren’t many other fashion styles that have managed to evolve and stay current while still honouring the origins and iterations that came before them. This article is for both, the die-hards of the streetwear style and newcomers looking for affordable streetwear brands without breaking the bank.
This article will introduce you to 33 budget streetwear brands that are breaking through, now in 2021. Don’t let the low price point or the handle ‘cheap streetwear brands’ put you off.
Judging by the style, cuts, and materials, there’s no doubt that some of these brands will become the next Supreme, BAPE, and so on. Without further ado, these are the most affordable, 33 cheapest streetwear brands of 2021 you can buy right now.
Launched in California, this brand dominates the streetwear scene. It all started in the eighties – as a small graphic T-shirt brand – offering worldwide shipping since then. At this point, everyone knows the history of this seminal Californian brand, built around the local surf and skate culture.
But if you don’t know, Stussy’s reputation evolved from a chilled-out surfer store into a famous urban brand of the ’90s. Moreover, what’s interesting is that despite the sales kept growing, the label hasn’t lost sight of its origins.
The brand is famous for streetwear-styled tees, bottoms, jackets, hoodies, hats, and shorts at meagre prices. You can also find affordable collabs with high-end designers and lite streetwear pieces.
I like the brand’s tees and hoodies ranging from $30 to $80. Also, I’ve ordered here some amazing streetwear jeans for less than $150. Quite the deal, right?
Once a footwear brand, Kith is a New York-based streetwear brand. However, true to its origins, Kith is known mainly for its streetwear sneaker collections. However, you’ll love the brand’s apparel lines, quite popular with the streetwear community looking for value for money.
In particular, I love the brand’s collaborations with Coca-Cola, New Balance, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, and even Disney. In fact, it was these collabs that turned Kith into a symbol among the streetwear style aficionados.
As a recap, with logo-heavy patterns and urban, loose, oversized cuts, Kith is the solution to affordable streetwear sneakers.
3. Denim Tears
Denim Tears is a lovely and affordable streetwear brand, driven by a social mission. The creator of Denim Tears, Tremaine Emory, has been championing black culture and racial justice for a long time. Emory also pushes all the brands he collaborates with to do the same.
He recently posted a design version of Chuck Taylors on IG, inspired by the ‘African-American Flag’ painting by David Hammons. He then outlined the conditions of release to Nike, requiring they push to defund police departments and put minorities in leadership roles within the company.
Created by Scott Sasso in 1995, this New York-based streetwear brand has flowed with the tides of graphic tee trends over the past couple of decades. While purists now balk at its colourful, almost-eyesore graphics, that’s what rakes in all the ‘hypebeasts’ dollars, whether we want to acknowledge it or not.
And, whether the punk and skate influences drew you in, or you dig the ’90s-referencing anime iconic graphics, 10.Deep has the perfect formula: “… one part history, one part regular and distinctive drops, and another part super reasonable prices.”
And, truth be told, between history and aspirations, you can’t get any more balanced pieces from a cheap streetwear brand that makes premium look average.
5. Diet Starts Monday
Launched as a retail and restaurant concept in Washington, DC, Diet Starts Monday was created to last only three months. However, the mad success the store experienced had it up for over a year.
Moreover, once the store was closed, the continuing demand made the brand continue operating and selling cheap streetwear via pop-ups across the country. Over the years, the brand has partnered with various companies to release budget streetwear collections – from $45 up to $200.
I invite you to check out the brand’s latest releases which feature anti-police brutality messages and a wide array of “Stop Killing Black People” streetwear tees.
London-based fashion designer Samuel Ross started his British streetwear label A-Cold-Wall with functional design, fabric, and architecture in mind. But, as the climate changed, so did his focus on streetwear couture.
Moreover, as Black Lives Matter protests crossed the ocean into the UK, the brand reacted by donating to its BLM financial aid programme. The programme works by creating ten grants in various categories, from streetwear fashion to urban planning and public administration to food services.
What started as a T-shirt competition back in 2011 now joins the iconic list of cheap streetwear brands with great success. That’s because the brand has turned into a fully-fledged streetwear name, centred around all-over logo graphics.
The vivid and intense images are signatures of sorts, no matter if describing floral, geometric, or tie-dye design. As the T-shirt, in general, goes through a revolution, or at least a reworking, Hype manages to avoid the plain, solid-colour trap.
All these aspects result in both flashy and statement worthy without losing sight of comfort and price friendliness.
There’s no shortage of trendy streetwear pieces showcasing Obey’s loud logo. Obey is a streetwear clothing brand started by Shepard Fairey and packed with politically themed illustrations.
Thanks to the ubiquitous ‘Zumiez’ carrying the label at reasonable prices, the company earned a “mal” streetwear reputation, at least in the US. At times, this streetwear is engaged in political and social commentary – see the rise of parody tees for further evidence.
Brownstone is a streetwear brand on the radar of Lebron James, James Harden, and the cool kids at Complex. Also, the brand was enlisted to create the official merch for the Roots Picnic 2020. If that doesn’t make you want to get on board, take a closer look at the designed and sold shirt that raised over $45,000 for various BLM causes.
I also like the brand’s comfy shorts and cozy-cool hoodies that won’t break the bank.
Menace was launched in Los Angeles by Steven Mena, aiming to propagate a disappearing (maybe) but not-defunct streetwear form. Over and over, we are told that genuine streetwear has died after shedding its local, subculture-based reputation to a global type of existence. It is true, from multiple perspectives: “social media-fuelled American hypebeast aesthetic, e-commerce making it possible for anyone, anywhere, and the advent of exclusive drops into general streetwear.
However, for as long as high-end contemporary fashion brands like Balenciaga borrow (steal) metaphors from streetwear brands, I know that streetwear is anything but dying. I love the label for the graphic tees, outerwear, and caps pull from hip-hop and punk themes, away from sun-splashed over commercial Venice Beach imagery.
The founder of the brand, Keith Hufnagel, grew up skateboarding in the gritty streets of New York City in the late ’80s. Back in those days, skateboarding was not popular at all: “It was somehow linked to a weird blend of punk rock and hip-hop, forming a counterculture of outcasts misunderstood by the classic genres and the masses.”
However, this way of living would ultimately shape Hufnagel’s outlook on life and influence his skate streetwear apparel collections. Nowadays, the shop/retail space Huf brings together some of the most respected brands of the skateboard, streetwear, and sneaker culture communities.
Keith’s brand Huf essentials work almost like a capsule collection; there, you can find streetwear pieces “Made by skateboarders, for skateboarders.” Huf represents a more refined and forward-thinking skateboard brand and any individual inspired by the vast array of countercultures that parallel skateboard mentality.
12. Spaghetti Boys
If you’re going to do graphic tees, whatever you create better be pretty darn memorable. That’s the motto of The Spaghetti Boys, a cheap streetwear brand started by Kerwin Frost and Ray Martinez. The label is unabashedly owning the viral-marketed, Off-White-originating, celebrity-endorsed roots – defies all that with expansive, doodle-like images and outlandish designs.
The garments resemble a hybrids concert tees with hand-drawn, grotesque-leaning scribbles you might encounter somewhere in the middle of a high school student’s textbook, crafted in a moment of boredom. Moreover, you don’t have to see the brand’s logo to know the tee is a “Spaghetti Boys” design as every cut functions strictly as a signature.
13. Renowned La
Driven by the ever so imaginative creative director John Dean, Renowned LA continues to push street menswear to new heights. This time, Dean focuses on diversity and sustainability, seen in the label’s kilter streetwear collection entitled “Against All Odds.” The collection explores the American Dream and features robust graphic t-shirts featuring pinnacles of black culture since the Civil Rights Era.
The best part is that all proceeds will go to ‘The George Floyd Foundation’ and ‘Reclaim the Block.’
14. Know Wave
What’s better? – to borrow from, or to get inspired by Peter Saville? Conceived as a platform for LA art gallery Moran in 2012, Know Wave ties in both, a radio station and clothing line that mimics the minimalism of Saville’s work, especially the club posters, album covers, and single art produced for Factory Records.
Appearing on countless tees, hoodies, jackets, and shoes over the past five or so years, the brand takes a shot at recognizable themes such as New Order, Power, Corruption & Lies, with vivid artwork and retro feels. The prices tend to be a bit more budget-friendly, so there’s always something on the cheap side.
Overall, the garments, while still logo and graphics-based, have a certain understated versatility.
If you’re trying to be the cool kid on the streets again, Palace might be the streetwear brand for you. Despite being a young brand (started in 2010), Palace has become quite popular, essentially thanks to exciting collaborations with Adidas and Reebok.
I find Palace an excellent brand for cheap tracksuits, crop jackets, tees, cargo pants, and even baseball caps.
FTP, or Fuck the Population, was started by Zac Clark when he was only 15. Clark was making t-shirts for his friends to wear in school and printed “FUCK” backward on them because, you know, teachers and that stuff… I like that since its inception, the brand has remained equally affordable and controversial.
Zac, a gun enthusiast, once posted so many images of his firearms on social media, it led to a raid of the FTP warehouse by the cops, resulting in an arrest and $415k bail. Another interesting tidbit about this enigmatic label is that Clark wears bandanas to shield his identity, as he is hesitant to be the ‘face’ of the brand.
A creation of Niyi Okuboyejo, the brand strives to design beautiful streetwear couture unseen anywhere else. “I make products that shock people. Once they pick it up, they start learning about the story behind each creation.”
A true labour of love, Post-Imperial uses local Nigerian artists to hand-paint patterns on the clothing before fabrics are hand-dyed through a process developed by the Yorubas. When done, these unique streetwear clothes are shipped to New York, where everything is cut and sewn.
Whether it is beautiful button-up tops, patchwork shorts, or galactic pocket tees, Post-Imperial has it, plus a breath-taking approach to design.
18. The Hundreds
Born in sunny and posh Cali, The Hundreds is a rare fashion label dedicated to street culture fashionistas. Started 16 years ago by Bobby Kim and Ben Shenassafar, the brand has stayed on a relatively steady course. The brand has terrific pieces inspired by skateboarding, surfing, hip-hop, and punk culture vibes, all starting at around $30 or less.
Thanks to the brand’s growing visibility and clout, The Hundreds has moved into luxury streetwear, which has seemed like the next logical and inevitable step. Moreover, thanks to their latest collaborations, including Disney and Adidas, The Hundreds has gained an aspirational, get-this-drop feel.
While most of the brand’s pieces are affordable, some T-shirts, caps, outerwear, and denim go above $200, especially the colour-blocked combinations.
This Japanese label was born in the nineties in Tokyo and has grown in popularity worldwide ever since. Once part of the Ura-Harajuku scene in Tokyo, Undercover was one of the first brands to crossover from streetwear to more stylish lines of a broader culture
The label has a strong influence from Brit Punk culture and elements that go beyond just a Japanese Touch. The main ingredients of Undercover are outlandish lines and designs for the basic T-shirt, quirky and eye-catching graphics.
Please note that some of Undercover’s rare streetwear pieces can be a bit on the pricey side. For example, the brand’s affordable luxury and effortlessly-chic T-shirt collections start from €250.
20. Embellish Nyc
Embellish NYC is an LA-based denim brand that feels fresh and cool right now. The brand delivers what we call elevated streetwear, even though it reads like an oxymoron and a paradox of some sort; nobody cares… Overall, Embellish NYC creates clothing meant to be rough-and-tumble casual, influenced by a subculture that nevertheless ends up on a runway at Fashion Week.
Nothing about the label designs seems like direct cash or status grab. Rather, slim fits, in standard and biker styles when riding cruiser bikes for women, get ripped, splattered, and faded in varying degrees.
I bet that, with the right tools, you could do something similar yourself. However, rather than ending up as a DIY project gone wrong, Embellish NYC pulls it off with finesse.
21. Walker Wear
Even if this is the first time you hear about this streetwear brand, Walker Wear is an OG of the style. After seeing the success of Dapper Don, founder April Walker commenced her eponymous label in Brooklyn.
A real trailblazer in streetwear, the brand has been worn by Jay Z, Aaliyah, Biggie, Tupac, and LL Cool J. I love how April brings transparency about racism in the fashion industry through clothing and style. Read her brilliant and insightful essays on the matter, and shop some of her cool designs below.
22. Bricks & Wood
Founder Kacey Lynch, a strong advocate for storytelling, refers to his company as the “South Central” brand. Lynch thought his idea for a clothing brand was a ‘dope’ idea but refused to put it out there before he had cemented the story he wanted to tell; a rare style that does not compromise quality, genderless, and sustainability.
Nowadays, the brand’s creations are built from high-quality materials by top cutters and sewers. As such, Bricks & Wood pieces are designed for a lifetime and can be worn by both men and women.
Nowadays, at the heart of streetwear, Elwood, another California-based brand, started in the mid ’90s with a vision to rework casual apparel. A bit complicated to start with, the concept eventually involved skaters in the design process.
Today, the brand’s initial aesthetic recalls the early 90s, with its tapered jeans offering enough space for movement, long shirt tail-style tees, and all-over plaid and checkerboard patterns. Don’t get me wrong, it is not quite the ’90s you remember, but close.
The clothing has a bit more flexibility, and the somewhat minimal look tends to veer away from loud graphics. I recommend this cheap streetwear brand as a store where you can put together your nostalgia-laden capsule collection – with a fresh touch. Simply put, Elwood’s designs and prices recall the versatility and accessibility attributes that streetwear had two decades ago.
24. Cross Colours
Started by entrepreneur Carl Jones with the later edition of graphic designer Thomas Jones, the brand is a unique vehicle for disseminating racial unity, rebuking gang violence, and promoting education.
The motto of the brand Cross Colours feels exceptionally timely: “Clothes Without Prejudices since 1989.” I love Cross Colour’s cheap streetwear pieces and their HBCU Mentorship Programme that connects students with resources, helping them get into fashion and entertainment.
Patta was born in Amsterdam’s hip-hop scene, and as a result, it has a rare European-Urban vibe to it. Amsterdam’s love for underground and hip-hop music transpires in the brand’s extra-cool collections of sneakers and streetwear basics.
I find Patta to be one of the most colourful and affordable streetwear brands you’ll find out there. I also love the brand’s loose cuts that’ll make you spend your days in comfy and yet, very stylish outfits! Patta is an excellent affordable streetwear brand with tees around €35 and bottoms around €100!
26. Crime Club
Based in Brooklyn, every Crime Club streetwear piece is hand-printed and created in-house by local artisans. The brand’s latest collection includes t-shirts and hoodies that speak, strength to strength, against systemic racism or police brutality.
See, for example, Uncle Sam-inspired “I Want You to Help Us Stomp Out Racist” and the “No Cop” tees, so much in vogue right now. Above all, Crime Club will donate 100 per cent of the proceeds of the mentioned tees.
27. Come Back As A Flower
Come Back As a Flower’s incredible rainbow and bleach tie-dye sweatsuit sweats make this LA streetwear brand a case apart in the landscape. Moreover, the brand’s recent endeavours are pushing for sustainability, hence using 100 per cent recycled cotton for their one-of-a-kind hand-dyed pieces. This ethically produced label is loved by trendsetters such as ASAP Rocky and Big Sean.
28. Comme Des Garcons Play
If you’re looking for a quirky vibe, Comme Des Garcons Play streetwear collection is the one for you. At the Iconic bug-eyed heart logo shop, you’ll find all the cool wardrobe pieces you’ve wanted so much.
Moreover, Comme Des Garcons Play’s designer collection has an unbeatable price compared to other high-end streetwear brands out there. For example, you can get tees sporting CDG heart-shaped iconic logos, classic hoodies, Breton tops, and much more for under $100!
29. Paradise Nyc
Those of you in your mid-30s, most likely recall the independently run t-shirt shops of the ’90s. Perhaps there was one at your local mall or in an alternative section of your city.
Those old kinds of stores used to carry a mix of band tees, pop culture parodies, and kitschy statement prints, often available only there. Paradise NYC is just that, a streetwear brand that brings back memories of those bold and sometimes borderline-inappropriate graphics.
Started by the LA skater Sean Pablo, the brand was formerly known as Palisades Paradise, occasionally spelled Paradi3e. You can now have the feeling of having something semi-exclusive without it costing you hundreds of pounds on eBay.
30. A Good Company
The Good Company’s cheap streetwear pieces give a platform to some that might not have been able to find it elsewhere. Beyond superb streetwear clothes, via radio broadcasts, to musical events, the founders of the brand, Quinn Arneson and Kumasi Sadiki provide a “home-away-from-home” place for aspiring artists all over the world.
Overall, I love the brand’s playful illustrations and colourful graphics, especially in their spring/summer collections.
31. The Marathon Clothing
It doesn’t feel right to mention black-owned streetwear brands without recognizing the late Nipsey Hussle’s brand, The Marathon Clothing. The label was started by the rapper with his brother, Samiel Asghedom, along with A&R of Def Jam, Steve Carless, and marketing strategist and public figure Karen Civil.
Since its launching day, Nipsey’s mission was clear: to empower the local community and people through garments that “have something to say”. While the clothing store closed down last year, the online retailer is still up and running.
32. HLZ BLZ
HLZ BLZ is an LA-based label dedicated to cheap streetwear for women. The brand has bold and daring lines intentionally selected to empower women and put them on the streetwear map. And it gets better: the prices are fantastic, all well under $130!
33. Martine Rose
Martine Rose brand is sold at streetwear fashion collective staples such as Dover Street Market and Mrporter. Founded by Martine Rose in London in 2007, the brand’s unique aesthetic mixes fun fabrics with clean silhouettes, as the founder gets inspiration from her Jamaican-British heritage.
The brand also participated in London’s “Get Up, Stand Up No” exhibition to celebrate 50 years of Black British excellence. The founder has also developed a bit of a cult following in the menswear world by hosting fashion shows in unconventional locations.
I recommend Rose’s very affordable streetwear pieces if you’re looking for something on the edgy side.
This article has not been edited by Fibre2Fashion staff and is re-published with permission from wtvox.com