Street fashion is fashion that you see on the street. Simple enough right? It is very different from what you might find on fashion magazines and talk shows. It is not about the most expensive line of jewelry or the most outrageous costumes. It is not what you are supposed to wear on the red carpet. Street fashion is about real people in the real world who do things they like. Is it not what fashion should be all about in the first place? Where, along the way, did we lose a sense of what people want and feel in studying fashion?
You can know a lot about a culture and its people by looking at the street fashion of the city. This type of fashion is influenced by a number of factors. Even within a culture, there are many sub-cultures. For example, in the US, which is a fairly homogeneous culture compared to many other countries, the sense of fashion can be very different from one city to another. A city like New York has its own sense of fashion on the street and is very different from a city like San Diego. Don't be surprised to find that Californians and New Yorkers are not very similar, after all!
Street fashion is also dependent on the weather of the region and a lot of articles never take that into consideration. After all, you are not going to wear a bikini in January in New York but you can get away with a tank-top in Californian winter. Certain accessories, therefore, become distinctive of the region and city.
Street fashion also helps us understand the economy and overall "mood" of the city and its residents. During cheerful times, you will find shorter hemlines and brighter colors. This is not speculation but has a basis in research that has spawned various recessions in the past. It is not hard to imagine that since this is about real people and their real lives, it reflects their life very well. This is contrary to popular fashion which is influenced by a lot of other factors.
Understanding and studying street fashion also gives a sense of history and culture of a city. Visitors, for example, can blend in more easily when they understand this aspect of the city and be embraced as one of their own. This of course is a privilege that can be earned only by the worth tourists and visitors.
When fashion is grounded in reality, it can become a powerful tool to study and understand how a culture or city operates and what drives the people. It can help explain a lot about why things are the way they are.