Is Hype Clothing Worth the Hype?
Streetwear is often referred to as “hype clothing” and “bonking”. But do you know what it all means or why it’s called that? 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.
We would never have guessed that trainers and hoodies would soon be on the fashion runways of luxury fashion houses around the globe.
So, how has streetwear grown to be so popular and from where?
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 Bonking Brand anyway?
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 the individual may not have a dime to their name, they like to front like they are making far more then everybody 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 is a term that can be traced back in 2005. It was created as a mixture of the two words Hype (which refers in this instance to the extravagant publicity surrounding a brand new item of clothing) and Beast (which is slang term for someone who is skilled at something.
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.
How does the “Hype” come about?
Streetwear brands are well-known for their “drop” marketing strategy. Many of them have adopted it. These products are usually released in small quantities at select retail locations or online. They are often not announced and often unannounced on social media. This strategy creates an urgency and exclusivity that leads customers to believe that they must buy the product as soon as possible to obtain a limited edition and exclusive item.
Supreme is the king of streetwear and has a huge following. 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 “hype” which surrounds the brand and the brand name can be linked back to their focus on clothing “drops” when releasing new lines. 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 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 announced last year a series drops in order to launch their streetwear-inspired range. Customers had just 24 hours to buy. It is fascinating to see top-end fashion houses taking inspirations from Streetwear businesses.
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 plays an important role in streetwear and the creation of “hype” 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. 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 be teased on social media weeks, or even months before the official drop day, and Twitter has also become a major part of bringing back the community element of this culture. 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