What does it mean to be ‘Essential?’

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Photo: Ron Lach / Pexel

Brands like Champion, Pangaia, and Fear of God are truly giving us everything we need from a chic, stylish, and casual perspective.

Over the last two years, we have seen a huge shift in the fashion industry. We’ve seen big box businesses like Barney’s, BCBG Max Azria, and Neiman Marcus close their brick and motor stores, adopting an online driven retail business in response to the global pandemic. So what is everyone wearing if we aren’t wearing ball gowns and three-piece suits? What are we putting on over our undergarments? What we’ve noticed, is that some of our favorite go-to brands have completely changed the way they design or what they design altogether. 

Many of the top fashion brands like Prada and Dolce & Gabbana have noticed the shift and added new departments of streetwear essentials, also known as “diffusion lines,” to core collections in order to capture new clientele and embrace the new normal. Ties and tailored dresses have taken a backseat to sweats, leggings, and hoodies! It’s all about elevated athleisure wear mixed with iconic staples. And don’t get me wrong, I will still wear a gown to the grocery store but I’m equally motivated to wear a classic hoodie, leggings, and my favorite AirMax.

Brands like Champion, Pangaia, and Fear of God are truly giving us everything we need from a chic, stylish, and casual perspective. Fear Of God – who coined the term by literally naming their diffusion line “Essentials” – gives you all your athleisure needs in every neutral color you can think of. From classic pullovers to sweat shorts and pants, you will be fly for all your travel needs, shopping, running errands, and even night out essentials. I am currently obsessed with Volley Short and the Half Zip Track Jacket! I’m also in need of the Tank Pack and Tee Pack. These are great classic pieces to mix and match in your everyday wardrobe!

KITH is also one of my ultimate favorite brands that is reinventing casual style through major collaborations with Nike, Coke, Calvin Klein, and Disney, just to name a few. They also partner with trendy restaurants to create unique shopping at their flagship stores. I’m in need of the Wilson Knit Cardigan (restocking soon) because it gives me that vintage Phat Farm vibe, as well as the Calvin Klein Alexa Hoodie and matching Chelsea Sweatpants! The limited-edition collaborations and production keep the brand unique and fresh.

Related | 5 Going Out Outfits  To Wear At A Nightclub In Los Angeles

Since we’re talking about companies that have shifted their branding or added diffusion lines, we cannot fail to mention Comme Des Garçons. Known for their core avant-garde styles and Japanese heritage, they are now one of the most recognizable casual streetwear brands with their iconic heart logo that can be seen in Nordstrom’s, The Webster, and on sites like Yoox.com, Mytheresa.com, and Net-a-porter.com. My shopping cart is currently filled with the PLAY logo T-Shirt ($123) and the Play x Converse logo print high top sneaker ($150).

With so many businesses closing, new designers (including me!) and new brands are emerging on the forefront of fashion. But with limited space and funds, designing at home is also the new normal. Personally, I’m living amongst mood boards, scratch paper, magazines, and fabric swashes and on walls, canvases, and more. Designers are on more phone calls, sending emails, driving to different manufacturers and vendors just to be in a research and development stage of these transformative, wearable collections! So what are you wearing to both the grocery store and the hottest clubs in LA? What are your favorite influencers wearing? Essentials! Classic, wear-now, dressed up or down, getting coffee or caviar. . . it’s all about your looking fly in basics.

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