It's no secret that the streetwear market is saturated with brands made for and by men. Legacy labels such as Stüssy, Supreme, HUF, Obey, and Kith are just the very tip of the iceberg. But streetwear brands owned by women? Those are far more rare. Seeing as streetwear began as a byproduct of America's skateboarding culture in the '90s, which was dominated by men, it's easy to understand why the sartorial genre is so imbalanced. But this makes it all the more important to laud and support the women who have carved a space for female-owned brands that can stand up among the best of them and make streetwear accessible to and representative of all.
Did you know that Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon co-founded a streetwear brand way back in 1994? It still exists today, and it's called X-girl. It was one of the first for-girls, by-girls streetwear brands to emerge on the scene and ultimately helped pave the way for the many more that have since cropped up. Now, newcomers such as Ashley Williams and MISBHV are pushing the boundaries of what streetwear can look like and the markets it can reach, while brands like HLBLZ are carrying on the genre's skater and graphic tee-inspired roots. Check out eight of the coolest female-owned labels below.
Having launched her label in 2013, British designer Ashley Williams is still a relative newcomer to the scene. Her designs skew higher brow and sit somewhere between casual streetwear and playful luxury (think acid wash denim and tie-dye hoodies mixed with tiered ruffled skirts and delicate mesh tops). Williams shows at London Fashion Week every season, has collaborated with Superga and Vans in the past, and boasts fans the likes of Georgia May Jagger, Kim Kardashian-West, and Claire Barrow. If elevated streetwear is what you're after, this brand will be a total dream.
If you follow cool girl Paloma Elsesser on Instagram, then you probably already know about MadeMe. The buzzy model worked with the streetwear brand on a campaign promoting its 2018 collaboration with Converse, proving the immense staying power of the 12-year-old brand. Launched in New York City in 2007 by Erin Magee, MadeMe has always centered on the motto of "by girls, for girls" and is inspired by raver girls and riot grrrls alike. Cool printed co-ords, graphic tees, sweatpants, and MadeMe-emblazoned vinyl bags are just a few of the things to shop from this cult-favorite label.
Founded in 2005 by Lanie Alabanza-Barcena, aka Misslawn, HLZBLZ blends laidback Cali cool with edgy New York grit better than pretty much any brand out there. Paying tribute to the trailblazing "bra burning" women of the '60s, the brand's slogan tees and hoodies often feature phrases with strong messages of female empowerment. Along with classic sweatshirts and crewnecks, HLBZ also offers denim and accessories — you can even shop a mug the brand created in collaboration with Japanese artist Chocomoo, so yeah, it's pretty rad.
Seeing as Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and her good friend Daisy von Furth were the brains behind X-girl, you know it's a brand that's going to be good. Launched back in 1994 when streetwear as a whole was just beginning to experience its global boom, the brand sought to create "real girl's clothing" — and still does. Inspired by rock, military, outdoor, sports, and other facets of street culture, X-girl boasts a decidedly '90s feel and will help you nail throwback grunge.
In 2013, Natalia Maczek, then a Polish law student, launched MISBHV as a casual side project to make fake designer tees for her and her friends to wear out to clubs. Fast forward three years later, and the brand is staging its first presentation at New York Fashion Week. Now counting Rihanna, Billie Eilish, Kylie Jenner and more as fans, the brand has expanded into a full-fledged streetwear label, offering spacey and futuristic co-ords and dresses, graphic hoodies and tees, and more. The brand now enlists some of the buzziest models for their fashion week shows, so you know it's only going up from here.
Only three years in and I.AM.GIA already boasts a fanbase including Bella Hadid, Romee Strjid, and Kaia Gerber. What's more, everything from the trendy brand is priced at under $200, making it legitimately accessible. No, you're not dreaming. Co-founded by Gia Carangi and Alana Pallister, the Australian brand is filled with silhouettes, colors, and cuts that are super au courant and boast that Instagram it-girl appeal. Think of it as Revolve, just with a slightly more streetwear leaning twist.
Whether you're looking for jewelry, socks, hats, tees, overalls, or hoodies, Melody Ehsani has got you covered. The designer founded her eponymous Los Angeles-based label in 2008 after deciding law school wasn't right for her, and since then, it's evolved into a well-known brand within the fashion world, counting Serena Williams and Shay Mitchell as fans (casual). Ehsani has been invited to give a TED talk and is vocal about female empowerment and entrepreneurship.
Created by Olivia Anthony, LIV Streetwear is meant to be more than just a brand; it's meant to be a movement. Celebrating all things '90s and '00s, its aesthetic hinges on bright, bold colors and retro silhouettes. Think your mom's biker shorts, Fresh Prince-like sweatsuits, and jumpsuits with unexpected cutouts. It's a playful brand meant to induce nostalgia, so if you wish you could permanently live in the golden era of Destiny's Child and Gwen Stefani, this is the streetwear brand for you.