Is Hype Clothing Worth It?
Perhaps you’ve heard of the expression “hype clothing” (or “bonking brand”) when it comes down to streetwear. But do you know what it all means or why it’s called that? Let’s take a look at all the 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, 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, exactly?
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 be able to make a living, but they will pretend they have more than others. The Hype beast [sic] has a mommies credit card and will try to buy every pair of Nike’s Jay-Z wore 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.
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 about cheap, 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’re familiar with streetwear brands, you will be familiar with the “drop”, a marketing strategy that many brands have adopted. 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 urgency and exclusivity in the customer and encourages them to buy quickly to have an exclusive, limited-edition item.
Supreme are the kings in clothing drop and have a large following in streetwear. The brand was established in Manhattan in 1994. Since then, it has grown to be a huge cult favorite all over the world. They have even collaborated with many big names like Nike and Vans.
The brand’s brand name and “hype”, can be linked to their emphasis on clothing “drops,” when they release new lines. 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.
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.
Many luxury fashion labels are following suit, releasing similar products after streetwear brands have enjoyed success.
Burberry announced last year a series drops in order to launch their streetwear-inspired range. Customers had just 24 hours to buy. 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.
Social media also plays a major part in the streetwear scene and how “hype” is created around brands and products. You can argue that social media was the catalyst for streetwear’s rise from subculture to mainstream status.
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.
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. Twitter now allows streetwear hype beasts to post conspiracies and discuss when the next drops are.
A new arrival to the Hype Street Wear World is Bonking