In the last 4 years, there’s been a growing influence in street fashion from the sports of motocross, particularly freestyle, combined with the growing fascination of Ultimate Fighting Competitions and Mixed Martial Arts. In Label Networks’ presentation recently conducted at MAGIC, one of the key growing subcultures that we highlighted was this genre, which is a crossover of the Inland Empire of Southern California, and the sports genres mentioned previously. Some account for this growing movement from the success and vast coverage freestyle motocross has received on ESPN via the X Games. Subcultures within motocross, including the Metal Mulisha, and car culture, such as represented by the brand Famous Stars & Straps, have all contributed to this subculture of high-desert meets motorized sports enthusiasts.
Add to this, the growing popularity of Ultimate Fighting and Mixed Martial Arts and it’s created a growing genre in street fashion that has captured the attention not only of a large consumer marketplace, but even creating the need for it’s own fashion trade show, which is being launched September 4-6 in San Diego called Virtue and taking place right across the street from the traditional Action Sports Retailer Trade Show.
Brands such as Affliction are riding this wave well, as is Famous Stars & Straps, SRH, and Sullen. Old brands within this genre are also being re-introduced such as Tap-Out. The color schematics within this subculture are dark -blacks, coal, greys, mixed with white, blood red, and occasionally green. Graphics include tattoo artistry mixed with influences from music lyrics, skulls, roses, vines, barbed wire, kings, queens, crowns, and diamonds. Not to be confused with the Ed Hardy/Christian Audigier looks, but far darker, younger, and less glam, the Inland Empire, UFC/MMA subculture attracts a different sort of consumer group that is passionate about their motor sports or martial arts credentials.
Where this is headed of course is a crossover with music that reflects this type of look and consumer group. Hardcore rock, metal, and even aspects of punk have added fuel to the fire. And a growing number of accessory brands also contribute including heavy metal rings, belt buckles, chunky chain bracelets and necklaces.
Overall, the results indicate how a sporting industry can create an entirely new platform for fashion, not yet scene on runways, but rather, an extension from the fans themselves, coming from the bottom-up rather than being dictated by designer-ready-to-wear collections or fashion magazines.