Skip to content

How Street Culture and Streetwear Can Flourish in the Winter

The story of Laurent Larue, designer and creator of Larue

When you walk through Montreal in the winter, it is so difficult to differentiate yourself. Whatever outfit you pick, no matter how incredible, is most likely to be covered by a thick, generic winter coat. It is only indoors, winter jackets taken off, that the glamor of one’s outfit can really shine. This begs the question: to what extent can there be street culture, or even streetwear, in a city whose blistering winters greatly reduce or altogether preclude any possibility for gathering outside?

To better answer this question, I spoke with a local Montreal man who has ‘street’ embedded within his very name: Laurent Larue, the creator and designer behind Montreal streetwear brand, Larue. I started off by asking him to define what street culture meant to him, to which he responded:“It’s a bit of everything. It’s mainly art. It’s mainly rebellion.”

Associating street culture with ‘art’ and ‘rebellion’ reflects a pressing problem many young people like me have today with the world we were born into; as we enter the corporate workforce for the first time, we often express consternation at the fact that we are made to continuously repress or completely reject our creativity. Walled in office spaces and buildings constrict its potential. By contrast, the street is at the interstice of labor and leisure, which offers a special opportunity to reclaim our creativity along with our individuality.

But, again, many of us avoid Montreal’s freezing streets in the winter. So then, in light of this inevitable fact, how can street culture create a space for ‘art’ and for ‘rebellion’? Laurent Larue found his answer to this question a long time ago. He told me: “You can have street culture in the winter too – you can see big brands like Stussy fit their brands for the winter temperature. There are more pieces, more beanies, more products you can do in the winter.”

For Laurent Larue, streetwear and street culture are inextricably intertwined. A way in which both can survive in the winter is through donning headwear – balaclavas, ski masks, hats and beanies “with designs that you’ve never seen before.” There are often not many winter coats that can catch your eye – but, a bright blue beanie with Larue’s magnificent designs on the other hand, will.

This explains why Larue’s logo has snow fixed to its edges – and why as you scroll through his meticulously designed website,, there is an effect of snow falling throughout the screen. Therein lies Laurent Larue’s accurate reading of Montreal. He aligns his talented eye for beautiful designs with his artistic hand as he skillfully stitches the winter culture of Montreal into each item he sells. This stitching is figurative, but also literal in the sense that he often hand stitches each item he sells.

Since 2017, Laurent Larue has languorously worked towards his ultimate goal: creating a huge hatalog of “winter hats, summer hats, every kind imaginable… that’s my goal, you go to the website and you find a hat for you.” In the summer of 2022, following budding success, he was approached by Off the Hook, one of the biggest streetwear stores in Montreal – he sold out every piece he displayed.

It is safe to say that so far, Laurent Larue’s life has been a testament to the ‘rebellion’ and to the ‘art’ he mentions. One of his main aims is to maintain his individual role as the creative visionary behind his brand. Larue promises –“I will always be the main artist behind it.”

Laurent Larue dropped out of CEGEP, and just last year, he quit his job. All of which to focus on his undying love for designing and DJing – to be “an artist first and foremost.”

I asked Laurent Larue what exactly he attributes his creative inspiration to, and whether or not he viewed his hats as a social product of all the experiences he has had right here in Montreal. To this end, he agreed that there was a certain element to this, and that “especially with all the diversity and mixture of people we have here, our culture is very large and so we can get inspired from a lot of cultures.” However, Laurent Larue made sure to propose that his inspiration goes beyond that, to cultural aspects that go beyond Montreal itself, namely, hip-hop.

Laurent Larue’s story, and his brand, Larue, speak loud. They both go to show how immersing yourself in street culture–never letting go of creativity nor of individuality–can lead to a worthwhile life.