Is Hype Clothing Worth the Hype?
You may have heard the term "hype clothing" or "hypebeast" when it comes to streetwear. But do you know what it all means or why it's called that? Let's dig in and get some knowledge on all things hype...
It is common knowledge that in 2019 Streetwear is not just made for the streets, Streetwear is dominating the fashion world and is even making its place known in the exclusive luxury fashion market too.
Who would have thought that we would be seeing hoodies and trainers dominating the luxury fashion runways across the world?
So why has streetwear become so popular and where did it come from?
Keep reading to find out how the Hype around streetwear a.k.a hype clothing turned into one of the most popular fashion trends in history.
What is a HypeBeast?
From the Urban Dictionary:
- "A person who follows a trend to be cool or in style. A person who wears what is hyped up."
- "A Hype Beast [sic] is a kid that collect[s] clothing, shoes, and accessories for the sole purpose of impressing others. Although the individual may not have a dime to their name, they like to front like they are making far more then everybody else. Equipped with mommies [sic] credit card, the Hype Beast [sic] will try his hardest to make sure he has every pair of Nike’s [sic] he saw Jay-Z wearing on 106 & Park."
The term “Hype Beast” can be traced back to 2005 when the term was coined as a blend of the two words “Hype” (which in this instance refers to the extravagant publicity around a new item of clothing or a trend), and “Beast” which is slang for a person who is skilled at something, in this case a person who is skilled at keeping up with the latest fashion trends.
Despite the word tracing back to 2005, it entered mainstream culture when rapper Trinidad James released his song “All Gold Everything” which contained the line “Hypebeasts we know aboutchea, don’t buy shoes unless they popular”.
While “Hypebeast” is a relatively new term, people often associate the concept with sneakerhead culture which was prevalent in the late 1990s and early 2000 in which people would collect expensive branded trainers.
Although there are many conflicting opinions on what “hypebeast” actually means, it is in agreement that a Hypebeast is someone who keeps up with the latest fashion trends in order to impress friends and those around them, they are obsessed with the latest releases and will go to any length to achieve the “Hype”.
You will often find these “Hype Beasts” camping outside supreme stores in order to ensure they are the first in line for the latest drops.
How is the “Hype” built around brands?
If you are familiar with streetwear brands, I am sure you are familiar with the popular “drop” marketing strategy which has been adopted by many of the brands. The “drop” process consists of releasing small quantities of “limited edition” clothing at selected retail locations or online, these products are often released without much warning and are often announced on social media. This strategy works to create a sense of urgency and exclusivity and leads the customer to believe that they must purchase the product quickly, in order to own an exclusive and limited edition item.
Supreme are the kings of the clothing drops and also have a massive following in the streetwear scene. Established in 1994 in downtown Manhattan, the brand has come a long way since, amounting a mass cult following around the world and even collaborating with some massive names such as Nike, Vans and North Face.
The “hype” which surrounds the brand and the brand name can be linked back to their focus on clothing “drops” when releasing new lines. When these new products “drop” in stores every week, without fail, there will be customers will be queuing for miles down the street in order to get their hands on the latest releases and obviously there is no better marketing for a brand than passers by seeing queueing down the street to get into your store.
Similar products of course can be purchased in any store, but these “hypebeasts” will happily queue for hours on end to have the latest and most popular releases.
Following the success and “hype” these drops have caused for streetwear brands, some luxury fashion labels have even begun to follow suit and release their products in similar ways.
Last year, Burberry decided to announce a series of drops to release their new streetwear inspired range, giving customers just 24 hours to purchase. It is certainly interesting to see high end fashion houses taking inspiration from Streetwear companies and it raises the question as to what the future holds for clothing releases and if these “drops” will evolve.
Joanne Yulan Jong, a fashion business expert believes that embracing these new tactics is a great way of reaching out to younger audiences and is essential for long-term survival and for ensuring they stay relevant and in the limelight, or risk being taken over by younger, more dynamic brands.
Social media also plays a major part in the streetwear scene and how “hype” is created around brands and products. It can be argued that social media is in fact what took streetwear from a subculture to the mainstream.
Before the internet, the only way to get your hands on the latest releases was being in the right place at the right time, and searching the shops to find limited edition items. Because of the commitment which was necessary to getting hold of these products, it can be argued that consumers had a lot more of a connection to the brand.
With the rise of streetwear on social media, it means hypebeasts no longer have to hustle to get their hands on the latest and most limited edition items, it can often be done at the click of a button, with little thought or connection to the brand or their community.
Despite this change in culture, many of the streetwear brands have adapted to this change in consumerism, and what the internet has taken away from these brands in terms of exclusivity, it has given back in the form of “hype”.
Streetwear drops can now be teased on social media weeks, or even months before the official drop day, and Twitter has also become a major part of bringing back the community element of this culture. Hype beasts can now take to Twitter to discuss and conspiracies when the next drops will be.
London Hype Influencers
If you are looking for the best way to rock the streetstyle, the best way to get inspiration is by turning your attention to Hypebeast Instagram Influencers who are following the latest trends, styles and rocking the coolest pieces.
Instagram is FULL of Hypebeasts, so here are our top 6 London-based HypeBeast Influencers to follow on the gram to get daily outfit inspo and keep on top of the latest trends and releases in London:
Commonly considered one of the U.K’s biggest Hype-Beasts, Ari Petrou has one of the biggest street-wear collections we have ever seen and he certainly knows how to flex it on the gram. With a wardrobe filled to the brim with the likes of Supreme, Off-White and Bape, he is certainly one to follow.
This 19-year-old, London based Filipina model is making waves in the Hype-beast scene and is not shy about showing off some of her worlds most exclusive Supreme items on Instagram. Now also joining the YouTube scene, this pink-haired influencer is going to be massive.
Gabriel is a designer at the popular streetwear brand Palace and frequently shares his designs and latest releases on his Instagram account. His account is full of inspiration for all you Hype-Beasts out there.
Skater and photographer, Tom’s Instagram is full of amazing photos and great streetwear Inspiration. Tom’s career took off at the young age of 15 and has been smashing it in the streetwear world ever since.
Known for her “gives no f*cks* attitude and tom-boy style, Cea.Ras is one of the coolest girls on Instagram. Cea.Ras has made her name in the male dominated Streetwear scene and has made sure everyone knows she is here to stay.
Juicy Gee AKA Jess Gavigan has made a name for herself in the Streetwear community with her brand Small Feet Big Kicks which makes high quality, cool footwear for streetwear lovers with small feet. Often streetwear is aimed at men, producing only “man sized” items, so this brand is a welcomed change, aiming its product to the female streetwear market which is currently thriving.
If you are into streetwear, give these hypebeasts a follow to ensure you are keeping up with the latest streetwear trends and drops whilst getting some major outfit inspo.
Hype clothing and streetwear has had one of the biggest evolutions in fashion history. What started as a skating subculture, has evolved into a billion pound, high-fashion industry where hype fashion can be achieved at the touch of a button.
OG streetwear hypebeasts may be disheartened by this change in exclusivity, but the streetwear scene is thriving and is only being heightened by the rise of social media. With more and more brands adopting the successful marketing strategies of Streetwear brands, the future for fashion marketing is exciting and unknown.