If there were any hesitation towards streetwear’s place in high fashion, consider Balenciaga’s Summer 2021 collection as the final case to put this long-debated topic to rest—but not for reasons we might expect. Beyond the clout and hype of vintage track jackets and oversized stonewashed denim, retro pieces tend to be more environmentally friendly thanks to their upcycled or repurposed origins.
For creative director Demna Gvasalia, it seems that fostering the values of sustainability is a two-pronged affair—and streetwear is his chosen medium. On the technical front, 93.5 percent of the plain materials in this collection are either upcycled or certified sustainable. And on the creative front, the collection sees pieces that were intentionally aged and reframe the way we view wear and tear.
The house’s signature accessory, the Neo Classic bag, gets DIY treatment—debuting a distressed finish in celebration of its 20-year anniversary. From patchwork sweatpants to a reimagined Hourglass bag, Gvasalia’s approach to streetwear feels simultaneously modern, yet rooted in the magpie spirit of ‘90s street style. As sustainability increasingly finds its way into more designer collections, clothes designed with the planet in mind no longer have a singular aesthetic. And for Balenciaga, they look a lot like a playful disregard for the gender binary, and old-school pieces that stand the test of time.
Discover Balenciaga’s full SS21 collection at balenciaga.com.
Photography: Joel Low
Fashion: Xander Ang
Hair: Marc Teng using IGK from Sephora
Make-up: Elain Lim using Bobbi Brown
Model: Bryan Yap / Now Models
Photographer’s assistant: Alfie Pan
Stylist’s assistant: Bernadetha Woenardi