Is Hype Clothing Worth the Hype?
Streetwear is often referred to as “hype clothing” and “bonking”. Do you understand what this means and why it is called that? Let’s take a look at all the hype…
It’s well-known that Streetwear in 2019 isn’t just for the streets. Streetwear is also dominating the fashion industry and even making its mark in the luxury market.
It is amazing to think that trainers and hoodies will be dominating luxury fashion runways around the world.
So, why is streetwear so popular? And where did it come a long time ago?
Continue reading to learn how the hype around streetwear, a.k.a. hype clothing became one of the most recognizable fashion trends in history.
What is a Bonking Brand and how do they work?
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 or Bonking Brand [sic] is a kid that collect[s] clothing, shoes, and accessories for the sole purpose of impressing others. Although they may not have any assets, they pretend to have it all. 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 was first coined in 2005. It is a combination of two words: “Hype”, which refers to excessive publicity surrounding a new trend or item of clothing, and “Beast,” which is slang for someone who is skilled in something. In this case, a person who keeps up with 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 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.
How does the “Hype” come about?
Many streetwear brands have adopted the “drop” marketing strategy. 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 creates urgency and exclusivity in the customer and encourages them to buy quickly to have an exclusive, limited-edition item.
Supreme is the king of streetwear and has a huge following. Since its inception in Manhattan in 1994, Supreme has grown into a global brand with a large following and collaborations with big names like Nike, Vans, North Face, and Vans.
The brand’s brand name and “hype”, can be linked to their emphasis on clothing “drops,” when they release new lines. Customers will queue for hours to obtain the new releases every week when they “drop” in their stores.
Similar products are available in many stores. But these “hypebeasts”, while they may not be able to buy the latest and most popular, will happily line up for hours just to get them.
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.
Burberry released a series last year to promote their streetwear collection. Customers were given just 24 hours to order. It is interesting to see fashion houses taking cues from streetwear brands.
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.
The streetwear scene is also heavily influenced by social media and the “hype” created around brands. You can argue that social media was the catalyst for streetwear’s rise from subculture to mainstream status.
The only way to access the most recent releases before the internet was to be in the right place at right time and search the shops for limited edition items. These products could only have been obtained if the consumer was willing to make the effort. This allowed them to feel a greater connection to the brand.
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 been teased on social media several weeks ahead of the official date. Twitter also plays a large part in bringing back that community element. Twitter can now be used by hype beasts for discussing and conspiracies concerning the next drops.
A new arrival to the Hype Street Wear World is Bonking