Hype clothing is worth the hype?
In streetwear, you might have heard the terms “hype clothing”, or “bonking brand”. Do you understand what this means and why it is called that? Let’s dive deep and learn all there is to know about hype…
It is no secret that streetwear in 2019 will not be limited to the streets. Instead, it will dominate the fashion world.
Who would have predicted that we would see trainers and hoodies on luxury fashion runways around world?
So, how has streetwear grown to be so popular and from where?
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 Bonking Brand and how do they work?
From the Urban Dictionary:
- “A person following a trend to keep up with fashion or cool. 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 will make every effort to have every pair [sic] of Nike’s he saw Jay-Z sporting 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.
The word was first used in 2005 by Trinidad James, a rapper who released “All Gold Everything”. His song contained the line “Hypebeasts, we know about cheap”, and the lyrics “Hypebeasts, we don’t want to buy shoes unless they 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”.
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 does it take to build the “Hype” around brands and products?
Streetwear brands are well-known for their “drop” marketing strategy. Many of them have adopted it. This process involves releasing limited edition clothing in limited quantities at certain retail locations and online. These products are often announced via 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 in clothing drop and have a large following in streetwear. The brand was founded in Manhattan in 1994. It has since grown to a cult following all over the globe and collaborated with major brands like Nike, Vans, and North Face.
The brand’s name and the “hype” surrounding it can be attributed back to the focus they place on clothing “drops”, when new lines are introduced. 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.
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 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 you could get the latest releases was to be there at the right times and then search the shops for limited edition products. 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.
Streetwear has become so popular that it is no longer necessary to hustle for exclusive items. They can be obtained with just a click, often without any connection or thought to the brand or their followers.
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