I originally wanted to give the title The best streetwear brands in Europe but as I can see now streetwear rather equals the sporty urban teenage streetwear not the generally trendy clothing.
I have long wanted to write about fashion for a while and also about the fashion mistakes we all tend to make from time to time. The biggest inspiration I received yesterday when I literally walked in a dozen fashion store in search of a good, fitting T-shirt. A mission which I gloriously failed. This will also bring me to soon enlist the biggest mistakes most of the streetwear brands make, as soon as I have the time and the energy for it.
All in all, it all started I went on google to specifically look for a good list of today’s streetwear –or fast fashion- brands in Europe and I haven’t managed to find one. So, I thought why not create mine? I will also enlist the biggest pros and cons of all of the brands I write about. Based in Hungary, I have a limited reach to some of the brands I will talk about. But all brands I enlist are brands the clothes of which I wear or I tried on. I will also soon post an update about this, where I want to talk about some of the more upscale brands which I definitely suggest everyone try.
The order is loosely based on my current preferences.
Mango is one of the oldest and most respected Spanish streetwear brands out there, with stores all over the world. People tend to like Mango but somehow people don’t tend to talk about it all that much. I have been one of the biggest fans of Mango almost since the beginning. The brand I must say has had its ups and downs but recently it went through a makeover, where it started to heavily prioritize on the actual quality of its garments. Mango follows high-street fashion trends for the better and oftentimes for the worse.
Pros: quality, good choice of colors, the fabrics are generally better than they used to be and the store has a very well working order and return-policy too. What I also like is, that Mango has plenty of clothes for women of every age and generally for every size.
Cons: there are many trends generally taken from high-street fashion shows which don’t necessarily belong in the wearable category. Being a Spanish brand take the sizes with a pinch of salt. Some of the M tends to be an S and so on. Another con is the price. A good thing though is, that they have a stable and relatively large sales section on their website. They couldn’t really make their male and their kids’ collections work. They also stopped collabs with stars with their collections.
I used to buy lots of garments at Zara about 10 years ago, but then thanks to all the failures in their choice of fabrics and in the actual tailoring I decided to let it go. Zara too has had a makeover this past year for the better. Zara is especially popular in the UK for a good reason. It has a wide variety of garments for every age group. Another pro is that it’s one of the very few brands which has an actually very strong male fashion collection.
Zara has recently chosen to do almost identical copies of high street fashion brands. It is said to do an all-around copy of Dior’s last year winder collection and it keeps going on unscratched and with high success ever since. Heck, even stars and the British Royal Family members tend to choose Zara these days.
Pros: they put in a lot of work in making wearable versions of high-street designs. As said above they have put in a good job in creating a good quality standard collection which includes lots of wearable items in good quality. Another big con is, that after having decided not to ever have catalogs they have finally come to realize the importance of a strong online presence. Their website is very nice and very nice quality. I am also very glad that unlike so many streetwear brands, it offers actual wearable pieces unlike the tons of low key brands all focusing on offering short, unwearable teenage stuff.
One major con, however, is, that Zara focuses on the thin people. I am a standard size M and in Zara, I had to buy the shirt in size XL to actually fit me fine.
Cons: It tends to be one of the pricier street fashion brands out there.
We tend to hear a lot about Desigual these years, in Europe and the brand is steadily growing opening a large number of stores all across Europe and on other continents too. Desigual is famous for its bohemian, gypsy style of clothes featuring wild patterns in its designs, tons of flowers, stripes, waves, whatever you like. Desigual is also proud to be one of the few brands which are openly environmentally conscious, with charities and applying methods when making garments or fabrics which don’t hurt the environment. Last time I had been to one of my local Desigual stores I’ve realized that the majority of the returning clients fall into the 50 and above category.
Pros: if you are looking for something which doesn’t fall in the trendy category, something outside the box then go for this brand. Also, it’s great for getting some color and patterns introduced in your clothes. Desigual has some of the best working customer fidelity card system. Its scarves are just lovely! Too bad I could never afford them.
Cons: The price vs the quality. Which makes me sad a little bit because I see so much promise in this brand. But the fabrics they tend to use are sometimes just not good enough. And the price is absolutely high, it’s equaling or even over the general price of high-street brands. Also, the patterns often tend to be a little too much (although in their recent collections I can see they are working on creating more basic pieces too)
- United Colors of Benetton
Benetton has been through all the major fashion storms and it once counted as a rather big and revolutionary brand, thanks to its great colorful collections and often scandalous yet outstanding marketing campaigns which were shown all over the world. This all happened at the end of the Eighties throughout the Nineties. Nowadays, while the brand is still strong in terms of quality, they seem to have marketing and sales issues. I do hope that Benetton soon bounces back because when it comes to quality mid to upper scale streetwear brands it’s still among the best. As an extra Benetton has some of the best, funniest Kids’ and Baby Collections out there.
Pros: the quality and the strong base collection of its shirts in every color of the rainbow. Benetton shirts can last for many years if treated with care. It has very good tailoring and collections for every age group.
Cons: Benetton falls in the higher-priced category too. Its prices more or less equal the prices of more upscale brands like Hilfiger. Their shops are not too large and tend to close down, unfortunately. But their presence is intense in outlet centers.
Previously known as Hennes and Mauritz this brand has the strongest ties to the German-speaking countries but it has a strong presence all across Europe including the UK and they have recently started to grow their popularity also in the US. I was surprised to hear that the brand is actually originally Swedish. Without a doubt, if you are looking for a brand which a huge collection which fits for every age group and sells for a good, affordable price, then this is your brand. It’s friendly for oversized people, it has a separate maternity collection and a very good Kids’ Collection too. I like its jeans, its tops, its Basics collection is very strong. I particularly like its LOGG brand as it focuses on producing garments with environmentally conscious methods and its fabrics are environmentally conscious too. This brand is also popular for being strong on collabs with famous designers or other stars and offering these signature collections almost every season.
Pros: a great online store offering you a good overview of as much as your eyes can take. It has an always large Sales section too.
Cons: the quality of their garments is mediocre to low quality. It has its higher quality section too but that comes for a higher price. They have luckily improved on the quality side recently. It tended to be much worse like 5 years ago. Be careful with the sizes. Here, they are larger, so a regular M tends to be rather an L.
I came to really like Superdry thanks to my affection to Japanese culture and the Harajuku style of which Superdry takes plenty of inspiration. I love the design of their t-shirts for instance. I have some of these and they still last! This brand tends to be on the sporty side. So, if you are looking for high-street wear not the jeans and t-shirt style of clothes, then this may not be the brand for you. Superdry also has a strong online presence, I know it’s popular also in the UK. It’s great if you are looking for some outstanding T-Shirts.
Pros: they found some great ways to create some fantastic T-shirt patterns which also do active advertisements as they all feature the brand name this or that way. I like their choice of colors.
Cons: beware of the tailoring. This may not be the brand you want to shop online. It took me an hour and trying on over 20 t-shirts to find 2 which actually fitted my figure fine. So, it is tricky. The price is much larger than it should be. EUR 45-55 for a T-shirt is a lot. Their collection is relatively small compared to others.
- Pull and Bear
While their current fall collection is not the strongest, this is a good brand especially triggering the younger audience featuring sporty, prep-school or college inspired clothing. I bought one of my most favorite T-Shirts there. Sadly, I couldn’t repeat this, as this fall’s collection is not to my liking, but it has lots of color, some outstanding style, and great styled coats. Pull and Bear is in the middle when it comes to pricing. In its style it may be quite similar to what American streetwear brands like Abercrombie and Fitch.
Pros: some out of the ordinary pieces, preppy pieces altogether
Cons: it rather focuses on the younger, thinner people.
Marks and Spencer: despite all its efforts, the brand is rather for mature women and men. But it has the best ever underwear collection out there.
OVS: the H and M of Italy, if you visit there, then don’t miss out on visiting it, it has a great mid-priced collection for every age group out there. It also has a massive counter featuring cosmetics of all sorts. I love it.
C & A: I have no idea if C and A exists outside Europe but what’s for sure is, that it’s one of the steadiest standard brands for all those looking to buy clothes for a lower price. Their quality is not the best but in return their Baby and Kids Collection are outstanding, so it’s the favorite spot for families looking to make an economy clothes shopping.
Brands to forget about: Reserved, Berschka, Stradivarius, Terranova, New Yorker, Orsay.