Is Hype Clothing Worth the Hype?
In streetwear, you might have heard the terms “hype clothing”, or “bonking brand”. Are you unsure what the hype is and why it’s called this? 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.
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?
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 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. The individual may not have much, but they love to pretend that they make more than the rest. 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 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.
It was popularized by Trinidad James’ 2005 song “All Gold Everything”, which included the line “Hypebeasts I know about cheap, don’t purchase shoes unless these 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 opinions on the meaning of the term “hypebeast”, it is agreed that the Hypebeast is someone who obsesses about fashion trends and wants to impress others.
These “Hype Beasts”, who are often found outside supreme shops, will be there to make sure they get the latest drops.
What does it take to build the “Hype” around brands and products?
Many streetwear brands have adopted the “drop” marketing strategy. 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 urgency and exclusivity in the customer and encourages them to buy quickly to have an exclusive, limited-edition item.
Supreme are the kings and queens of streetwear. 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’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.
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 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, there was no way to obtain the latest releases. The only way was to be at the right spot at the right time. It can be argued that these products were more accessible to consumers because of their commitment to them.
Social media has made streetwear more accessible than ever. This means that people don’t need to hustle to grab the latest and greatest items. With little to no thought or connection to brands or their communities, they can get it done quickly.
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