Is Hype Clothing Worth the Hype?
When it comes to streetwear, you may have heard the terms “hype clothing” or even “bonking brand”. Are you unsure what the hype is and why it’s called this? Let’s dive deep and learn all there is to know about hype…
It is well-known that streetwear is no longer just for the streets. In 2019, Streetwear is a dominant fashion trend and has even made its way into the exclusive luxury fashion market.
Who would have thought that hoodies, trainers, and other casual wear would dominate luxury fashion runways all over the world?
So how did streetwear become so fashionable?
Continue reading for more information about how the hype surrounding streetwear, also called hype clothing, turned into one the most fashionable fashion trends of all time.
What is a Bonking Brand, exactly?
From the Urban Dictionary:
- A person who is influenced by a particular trend in order to look trendy or fashionable. A person who wears what is hyped up.”
- “A Hype Beast or Bonking Brand [sic] is a kid that collect[s] clothing, shoes, and accessories for the sole purpose of impressing others. The individual may not have any money, but they still like to appear to be making more than everyone else. The Hype Beast [sic] is equipped with a mommies [sic] credit cards and will do his best to ensure he has every pair Nike’s [sic] he spotted Jay-Z wearing at 106 & Park.”
The term Hype Beast can be traced back as far as 2005, when it was created from the combination of the words “Hype” and “Beast”. Hype refers to extravagant publicity about a new piece of clothing or a trend. “Beast” is slang meaning a person skilled at something.
It was popularized by Trinidad James’ 2005 song “All Gold Everything”, which included the line “Hypebeasts I know about cheap, don’t purchase shoes unless these are 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 differing definitions of what “hypebeast,” it is generally agreed that Hypebeasts are people who keep up with the latest fashion trends to impress friends. They are also obsessed with the latest releases and will do whatever it takes to attain 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.
What is the “Hype”, built around brands?
Many streetwear brands use the popular drop marketing strategy. The “drop”, which is a small release of “limited edition” clothing at select retail stores or online, involves not letting the customer know about it and often announcing it on social media. This strategy creates a sense of urgency, exclusivity, and makes the customer believe they have to purchase the product fast in order to get an exclusive item.
Supreme are the kings in clothing drop and have a large following in streetwear. 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 brand name and brand hype can be linked to the clothing “drops”, which are when new products are released. 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.
You can buy similar products in all stores, but the “hypebeasts”, who will queue for hours to get the latest and greatest releases, will be able to purchase them at their local store.
Luxury fashion labels are now following the footsteps of streetwear brands and releasing their products in similar ways to these success stories.
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 is possible to argue that streetwear has gone mainstream because of social media.
Before the internet, there was no way to obtain the latest releases. The only way was to be at the right spot at the right time. You can argue that the brand was more connected to its customers because they were willing to commit to buying these products.
The rise of streetwear via social media means that hypebeasts don’t have to hustle for the latest limited edition items. It is possible to often get them at the click of one button with little to no connection to the brand and 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 are now possible to be teased on social networking weeks, or even months, before the official drop date. Twitter has also played a significant role in bringing back the community aspect of this culture. Hype beasts can now take to Twitter to discuss and conspiracies when the next drops will be.
A new arrival to the Hype Street Wear World is Bonking