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What the closing of Alife in New York and the opening of Supreme in Milan tell us

A turning point to understand the future of streetwear

What the closing of Alife in New York and the opening of Supreme in Milan tell us A turning point to understand the future of streetwear

While in Milan the official arrival of Supreme was inaugurated on Italian soil, about 6 thousand kilometers away an institution in the streetwear world was preparing to definitively lower the shutter with the closing of the Alife store on Rivington Street. More than just a shop, the store of the brand founded by Rob Cristofaro, Arnaud Delecolle, Tony Arcabascio and Tammy Brainard was born with a specific purpose: to fill a cultural and creative void that raged in New York in the late 90s. Even before being a brand, Alife was a laboratory, a meeting point where creatives could connect in a dense network of ideas and suggestions that concretely countered to create what today, perhaps improperly, we call streetwear.

Over the years the store has been the scene of the live shows of Drake, Nas, John Mayer and King Krule, while the brand imposed itself in the street world by welcoming in the Alife Rivington Club collaboration with brands like Nike, PUMA, Reebok and adidas. Born as a collective, the uniqueness of Alife was to offer the banal in a unique way, as admitted by one of its founders, Rob Cristofaro: "It was practically the same product you would have found a block away, but imagined in a new context and designed to give people a unique experience every time they entered the store. This was the idea to create an environment that was different from all the others." Reading Cristofaro's words, it is impossible not to immediately think of the new Supreme store just inaugurated in Corso Garibaldi, the thirteenth flag of the New York brand that has transformed streetwear into pop culture reaching a slice of the public unknown to its competitors. If in Rivington Street Alife had wanted to create a unique space of its kind, the idea behind the Supreme stores is all too reminiscent of a brand like Apple, capable of imposing its image in any space it presents itself.

Behind this strange coincidence, however, there is also another meaning, the one that for many could mark the end of streetwear as we know it, opening the doors to a new phase, the end of the niche in favor of the mass. It is undeniable that Supreme has arrived in Italy in its moment of descent, when the hype now seems to be behind us towards a future that could see James Jebbia's brand take on a new form, abandoning the idea of ​​a reality "for a few" in in favor of greater openness. A new pop dimension that could lead the streetwear world and the vast jungle of brands that are part of it towards the need to leave the bubble to survive a new phase of change. If Stussy has partly already taken this step forward, realities like Palace will find themselves forced to choose which side to be on, but above all whether to go forward in the direction taken by Supreme or whether to end up in the abyss of streetwear which has partly already welcomed names time illustrious as Anti Social Social Club, BAPE and Undefeated. Realities that have been stuck in an era now outdated, when hiding meant being seen and subcultures dictated the law. A world that now seems light years away while the trend seems to have reversed and staying anywhere seems to have become the only way to survive. Kanye West understood it, who with GAP will bring Yeezy all over the world, and also Supreme, which continues to expand despite a rising trend. It is the circle of life, nothing is destroyed but everything is transformed. Streetwear too.