Hype clothing is worth the hype?
In streetwear, you might have heard the terms “hype clothing”, or “bonking brand”. You may have heard the term “hype clothing” or “bonking brand” used to describe streetwear. But what do you know about it? Let’s get to the bottom of all this hype and learn more about it.
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.
It is amazing to think that trainers and hoodies will be dominating luxury fashion runways around the world.
So why did streetwear become so famous?
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 Bonking Brand anyway?
From the Urban Dictionary:
- “A person who is following a trend to be trendy or in fashion.” 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 much, but they love to pretend that they make more than the rest. 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” or “Bonking Brand” 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.
Although the term dates back to 2005, it became mainstream culture when Trinidad James’ song “All Gold Everything” featured the line “Hypebeasts that we know about cheap, don’t buy shoes unless you 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 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”.
These “Hype Beasts,” who live outside of supreme stores, are known to be camping out in order for them to get the latest drops.
How is the “Hype” built around brands?
Streetwear brands are well-known for their “drop” marketing strategy. Many of them have adopted it. 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 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 brand name and brand hype can be linked to the clothing “drops”, which are when new products are released. The new products “drop” in stores every week without fail. Customers will line up miles to be able to purchase the latest releases. It is obvious that there is no better way to market a brand than to see people queueing on the streets to enter 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.
These drops were so popular that luxury fashion labels started to copy them and release similar products.
Burberry announced last year a series drops in order to launch their streetwear-inspired range. Customers had just 24 hours to buy. It’s interesting to see top fashion houses take inspiration from streetwear companies. This raises questions about the future of clothing releases and how these “drops” will change.
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 can now easily be teased on social networks weeks before they happen. Twitter has also been a big part of bringing the community back to 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