New York Streetwear Guide: The Coolest Brands & Stores In NYC
These are the hottest streetwear labels to come out of the City The Never Sleeps, along with the destination stores that should be on your list if you ever visit NYC.
New York City is many things. It’s the Big Apple, the City That Never Sleeps and the Capital of the World. It also happens to be where streetwear was born. While most people will tell you that this style was invented in the 90s, that’s actually the decade when it made its way across the globe. In reality, streetwear dates back to the 70s and 80s, taking inspiration from punk, heavy metal, skate culture and heritage sportswear brands. It also borrowed elements from Japanese street fashion, which was beginning to make a name for itself as well.
In the 90s, record labels associated with popular hip-hop acts like Def Jam Recordings and Tommy Boy Records began making their own merch, with their logos embroidered on everything from hoodies and letterman jackets to baseball caps. This led to American sports teams like the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Raiders and the Chicago Bulls releasing their own apparel collections, which is why oversized team jerseys play such a significant role in the history of streetwear.
By the middle of the decade, footwear companies like Timberland and Nike had jumped on the trend. The former’s Original 6-Inch Boot became something of a subway station staple, while the latter’s Air Force 1 Low was later nicknamed the Uptown, because of how ubiquitous they were in the city’s Harlem neighborhood.
Without New York City, streetwear as it lives and breathes today simply wouldn’t exist. So we’re taking this opportunity to showcase some of the greatest brands to come out of the five boroughs, as well as some of the best stores that you should definitely check out if you ever get a chance to visit.
Aimé Leon Dore
There’s absolutely no way that we can talk about the best New York City streetwear brands without giving Aimé Leon Dore a very special shoutout. Founded by Teddy Santis, this entry might come as a bit of a shock, considering ALD sounds kind of French, but its name is actually an amalgamation of Aimé (the French word for ‘loved’), Leon (Santis’ dad’s nickname) and Dore (an abbreviation of Santis’ birth name, Theodore).
While it has been around since 2014, the hype surrounding the ‘urban preppy’ imprint didn’t skyrocket until two or three years ago, when it first started collaborating with New Balance on a series of normcore-inspired sneakers. Since then, its collections have sold out within mere seconds of release, and in 2021, Santis was actually named the new creative director of New Balance’s Made in USA division.
ALD has teamed up with a bunch of other big names too, including Clarks, Drake’s, New Era, and even Porsche, to name but a few.
224 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012
Launched in 2012, Awake NY is the brainchild of Queens native Angelo Baque. A reflection of the city’s ever-changing landscape, its collections capture the eclecticism of downtown NYC in the early 90s, updated with refined silhouettes and quality basics to round out your wardrobe.
While the brand is known mostly for its graphic hoodies and clean streetwear T-shirts, recently it has started experimenting with more sartorially-influenced pieces like sweater vests, overcoats and even full suits, proving once and for all that smart streetwear does actually exist.
On top of its in-line offerings, Awake NY is a huge fan of collaborations. To date, it has teamed up with everyone from ASICS and Carhartt WIP to Levi’s and Moncler. In September 2022, just in time for its 10th anniversary, UPS handpicked Awake NY for a New York Fashion Week pop-up shop titled ‘La Bodega Baque’.
The range featured exclusive UPS x Awake NY products alongside a multitude of up-and-coming Latinx brands. All of the proceeds from the collection, as well as a $50,000 grant, went to Manhattan’s High School of Fashion Industries to support a scholarship program for Latinx designers and entrepreneurs.
62 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
If you ever find yourself in New York City’s NoHo district (short for North of Houston Street, for all of you out-of-towners), you need to make a stop at C’H’C’M’. Established in 2008 as an online multi-brand men’s clothing store, C’H’C’M’ opened its first physical shop two years later and since then it has become a hotspot for all things streetwear, gaining a healthy following of fans from all over the globe.
C’H’C’M’ stocks everything from Adsum to Nanamica, but what makes them even more special is their in-house line that launched in 2014. Partnering with some of the greatest designers and manufacturers in the world, each of the pieces is made in the UK, France, Italy, Japan and the USA, and is available exclusively in their brick-and-mortar space as well as their webstore.
So make sure you check out their Bond Street location if you get a chance.
2 Bond St, New York, NY 10012
Concepts is one of the biggest OGs in the game. Founded in 1996, at a time when streetwear was just about to explode globally, this was one of the first stores to sell nothing but streetwear. At the time it was unlike anything out there, and even after almost three decades, it continues to be a major player in the industry.
Before you say anything, we know that Concepts was originally from Boston. But it has since expanded to China and Dubai and, of course, NYC, where its University Place store has become a go-to spot for all of the coolest kids.
Concepts has partnered up with a plethora of big names in the past, but one of its biggest projects to date is the SB Dunk Low ‘Lobster’ collection, made with Nike. Regarded by critics and experts as one of the best sneaker collabs in the history of the universe, it’s the definition of a holy grail.
99 University Pl, New York, NY 10003
Dover Street Market New York
Even if you’re not remotely interested in style, chances are you’ve heard of COMME des GARÇONS. Created by Rei Kawakubo, it’s one of the greatest Japanese fashion houses of all time. But what you might not know is that Kawakubo is also the brains behind Dover Street Market.
After revealing her first space in London, DSM eventually expanded to six other locations, including New York, which has become something of a holy site for the streetwear-obsessed.
Abbreviated to DSMNY, it opened its doors in December 2013 in Manhattan’s Murray Hill in the old New York School of Applied Design building. Not only does it sell COMME des GARÇONS’ own collections, but it also stocks other labels such as Balenciaga, Brain Dead, J.W.Anderson, LOEWE, Maison Margiela, Nike, Supreme and Vetements, to name a few.
It’s home to seasonal pop-ups, workshops and installations too, so it’s always worth popping in and having a look if you’re passing by.
160 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016
In 2007, a bunch of friends came together to discuss their love of New York, fashion, footwear and film. The more they talked, the more they realized that they needed to come up with their own unique way to express these passions – and that was the moment when Extra Butter was born.
Featuring a best-in-class assortment of sneakers and streetwear, each of its stores, from its Lower East Side flagship to its brand-new Queens location, are all inspired by the world of cinema.
When Extra Butter releases a collaboration, the project is always influenced by the movie-going experience, with each blockbuster release always selling out within seconds of launching.
This has led to the brand undergoing rapid expansion. For example, in September 2023, Extra Butter opened its very first space in Mumbai’s Worli district. This was its first foray into the international market, and judging by how well it has been received, it certainly won’t be their last.
125 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Jason Dill is a man of many talents. Not only is he a professional skater, he’s also a critically-acclaimed photographer and the founder of Fucking Awesome. Established in 2001, over the past two decades the groundbreaking skatewear brand has played a leading role in shaping the culture into what it is today.
While it’s comparably smaller than a lot of the other names in this list, it has quickly garnered itself a cult following thanks to its DIY-inspired designs and limited edition releases.
At its core, Fucking Awesome is all about being a little rebellious and a little controversial. But even with this archaic edge, it has still managed to secure collabs from the likes of adidas and Vans. In essence, it’s a clothing label run by skaters, for skaters.
420 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009
You can’t showcase NYC streetwear brands without bringing up one of the best to ever do it, Kith. Founded by the man, the myth and the legend that is Ronnie Fieg, Kith started its journey in 2011 as KITH NYC, when it was focused on selling nothing but the most hyped sneakers in the universe.
At the time, most competitors didn’t really care too much about how their stores looked. But Kith was famous for its opulent aesthetic that almost crossed the line into high-fashion territory. From concrete floors to Italian marble walls, it was like stepping foot into a luxury boutique, but made for streetwear.
In 2015, Kith revealed its first women’s retail location in Manhattan, and in the same year, it introduced the world-renowned Kith Treats as well. Since then, the company has teamed up with everyone from Nike to Versace on a slew of collections, and worked closely with BMW to create its own M4 Competition and i4 M50.
In the space of 12 years, Kith has expanded from one store in New York City to 13 internationally. At the end of 2023, it opened the doors to its first-ever Toronto flagship, marking Kith’s debut into the Canadian market.
337 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012
For Noah NY, it’s all about doing what’s right. Not just for humanity, but the world as a whole. Based out of its Mulberry Street flagship in Soho, the brand seeks to take a stand against many of the appalling practices found within the fashion industry.
Its collections are made in countries and factories where tradition, expertise and human dignity take precedence over the bottom line. While its pieces are priced at the higher end of the spectrum (something the brand has addressed in the past), that’s because those making them are paid a fair wage, and a portion of the profits are donated to causes that actually matter.
Noah NY’s founder, Brendon Babenzien, knows streetwear like the back of his hand. In fact, before he decided to start his own label, he was the creative director at Supreme. With this wealth of knowledge and experience, he decided that instead of creating just another clothing label he wanted to do some good instead, and that’s exactly what he did.
195 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012
Founded by James Jebbia in 1994, the first-ever Supreme store opened up in a derelict office space on Lafayette Street in Lower Manhattan. It was old and creaky, and in an area that, at the time, wasn’t particularly safe. However, that didn’t stop it from becoming the meeting point for some of the city’s biggest skaters.
While the company began life making its own boards, it eventually expanded to apparel and accessories. Soon, independent artists and collaborators wanted to get involved, and it didn’t take long until Supreme transcended into something of a counterculture movement, with fans from the States and beyond all making their way to the tiny space.
In 2004, a second location was opened on North Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, and other locations began popping up, including shops in London, Milan, Paris and Tokyo. During the fall/winter 2017 season, Supreme completely blurred the line between streetwear and high fashion by teaming up with Louis Vuitton for a full capsule. The partnership made headlines everywhere, and it was dubbed by Vogue as the best collaboration of the year.
One year later, Jebbia was awarded the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Menswear Designer of the Year Award, which confirmed that Supreme has come a very long way since that first store opening.
There was a point where you would have to queue overnight to get your hands on one of Supreme’s sought-after tees and hoodies, but today the hype has subsided somewhat. This is good news for your wardrobe though, as it’s now easier than ever to add that iconic box logo to your rotation.
190 Bowery, New York, NY 10012