This time we landed in Milan, the capital of Italian fashion week, where the Paninari and some of the world’s most important fashion houses were born. Here, Streetwear spread in the late 1980s, strongly influenced by the first – and only – subculture born in Italy, the infamous Paninari. The Milanese Street Style is elegant and elitist, just like the big names that stand out among the shop windows of the luxury shopping avenues, from Via Montenapoleone to Via Della Spiga, passing through Corso Venezia.
Let’s discover, then, the stylistic signature of Streetwear and Street Style Made in Milan: another adventure of Streetwear Spotlight Cities begins!
In the late 1980s, the first Italian fast-food restaurant, called Burghy, opened in Milan’s Piazza San Babila. Around the Burghy a community of well-to-do Milanese youths swarmed, dressed to the nines and never with their hair out of place. These guys wore windbreakers, plie sweatshirts and mirrored sunglasses, borrowed from their mountain or seaside outfits from their rich parents’ second third homes. Because they gobbled Hamburgers most of the time, they called themselves ‘Paninari’.
The Paninari, in fact, are the first as well as the only subculture born and spread in Italy, who in a way started what was to become the streetwear of the years to come, although it would be more correct to speak of luxury streetwear.
The clothes of the Paninari, in fact, constituted a very precise social status: always expensive and exclusive, they had to reflect a life of the upstarts, such as the padded Moncler sleeveless, Best Company sweatshirts and Lumberjack loafers, which they usually wore during skiing holidays in Cortina or Courmayeur.
Thanks to the Paninari, sportswear was introduced into the urban lifestyle style that, in Italy, was almost prohibitively expensive, where the big Milanese brands also monopolized casual fashion.
Unlike Streetwear born elsewhere, the natural offspring of the Hip Hop subculture, born on the street and for the street, then evolved into mainstream fashion, that of the Paninari is a style that winks at the States, but at the elitist side: American wealth, made up of exclusive holidays and country cottages, becomes the ultimate inspirational model to follow.
Brands designed ad Hoc for this style, which draws on sports garments, from sailing, tennis and skiing, to make clothes and accessories that can also be worn in the city, will enter the market. Names such as C.P. Company, particularly influential in the 1980s and 1990s with its ‘Mille Miglia‘ jackets and their innovative use of materials; Stone Island, from 1982, known for its technical fabrics and icons such as the jackets with the removable badge on the sleeve; and the aforementioned Best Company, born in the 1980s, became, in just a few years, a true cult brand, loved and worn by the younger generations.
Streetwear in Milan is – still today – an interesting mix of styles, influences and trends that reflect the city’s urban culture and its prominent position in the fashion industry, characterized by a style between tradition and elegance. The influence of Italian fashion and big names has had a huge influence on Milanese streetwear. Brands such as Gucci, Prada, Versace, and others have often incorporated streetwear elements into their collections, creating a bridge between high fashion and street fashion.
Handcrafted details, experimentation and international influence all contribute to creating a recognizable and unique style signature that can be found in Italian streetwear collections and in the street style observable on the street.
Paura: Founded by Francesco Ragazzi, Paura is known for its bold and iconographic style, often inspired by youth and urban culture. Their garments feature unique graphics and distinctive details.
Sunnei: Although not strictly a streetwear brand, Sunnei is a Milanese brand known for its fresh and innovative approach to urban fashion. Their collections feature casual and playful elements, reflecting a modern, youthful style.
GCDS: An acronym for ‘God Can’t Destroy Streetwear‘, GCDS is a Milanese brand that combines bold and colorful elements with a touch of irony. Their distinctive graphics and designs have gained international popularity.
In this journey through Milan Streetwear, we explored the roots and evolution of Milanese Street fashion, a fusion of elegance, tradition, and urban influences. Born from the influence of the Paninari in the 1980s, this style has poured American elitism and wealth into the streets of the Lombard capital. Sportswear, once almost prohibitively expensive, was adopted thanks to this subculture, challenging the hegemony of the big names and the casual look.
Today, Streetwear in Milan continues to express a unique stylistic signature, with distinctive traits that combine artisanal details, experimentation, and international references. Italian brands such as C.P. Company, Stone Island and Diesel, among others, continue to influence contemporary urban style. The Influence of Italian Fashion, together with the big luxury brands, underlined the relevance and originality of Milanese streetwear.