Is the Streetwear Bubble About to Burst?

Highsnobiety, in a particularly self-aware moment, is wondering how much longer until the streetwear boom goes bust.

Referencing the seminal bubble market text, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, author, Douglas Brundage, writes that as “the dominant facet of 21st-century fashion, streetwear has come to define and be defined by the fervor with which it is coveted by adoring fans and cunning resellers the world over.”

He goes on to say that streetwear is “a bubble at least two decades in the making,” and as “with the late-’90s dotcom bubble, the subprime mortgage crisis, and even bitcoin, warning signs abound.”

For starters, hype-driven markets have created “a huge set of products that are overinflated in price, bearing little relation to [their] intrinsic value,” which the story says is “the classic first warning sign of a bubble.”

And though Silicon Valley VCs have rained GDP-sized money on a recent crop of reselling platforms, the story found “excess inventory, sinking profits, and vast discrepancies in pricing between the likes of StockX, Stadium Goods, and eBay,” which is indicative of “industry-wide speculation… the second telltale sign of a bubble.”

Following “inflated value and rampant speculation,” the next stages of a bubble market are, according to the story, displacement, rapid rises in asset valuations, “euphoria,” profit-taking and panic. And, Brundage feels streetwear has already hit the penultimate or profit-taking phase.

“To argue that we’re currently in the fourth… phase of a streetwear bubble isn’t outlandish,” the author says. “A basic characteristic of a bubble is the suspension of disbelief by the majority of participants involved,” and in order for a bubble featuring $1,400 Nike Prestos to keep expanding, suspension of disbelief is kind of key.

So, if you’ve been meaning to post some stuff on Grailed, now might be a good time to finally do that.

You can read more about it at Highsnobiety.

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