Is Hype Clothing Worth the Hype?
Perhaps you’ve heard of the expression “hype clothing” (or “bonking brand”) when it comes down to streetwear. Are you unsure what the hype is and why it’s called this? Let’s dive in and find out all 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 thought that we would be seeing hoodies and trainers dominating the luxury fashion runways across 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 follows the latest trend to be fashionable or trendy.” 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 [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” 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.
While there are many different definitions of “hypebeast”, most agree that it refers to someone who is obsessed about the latest fashion trends to impress their friends.
These “Hype Beasts”, who are often found outside supreme shops, will be there to make sure they get the latest drops.
How does the “Hype” come about?
If you are familiar with streetwear brands, I am sure you are familiar with the popular “drop” marketing strategy which has been adopted by many of the brands. 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 a sense of urgency, exclusivity, and makes the customer believe they have to purchase the product fast in order to get an exclusive item.
Supreme are the kings of the clothing drops and also have a massive following in the streetwear scene. In 1994, the brand was founded in Manhattan. The brand has enjoyed a massive following worldwide and even collaborated closely with brands such as Nike, Vans, North Face and Vans.
The “hype” which surrounds the brand and the brand name can be linked back to their focus on clothing “drops” when releasing new lines. These new products will “drop” every week in stores, and customers will line up for miles to get them. This is a great marketing strategy for any brand, as it will attract people who are willing to queue to get in your store.
Although similar products can be bought in most stores, these “hypebeasts,” who are eager to receive the latest releases, will gladly wait hours for them.
Luxury fashion labels are now following the footsteps of streetwear brands and releasing their products in similar ways to these success stories.
Burberry launched a series to introduce their new streetwear range last year. Customers could purchase the drops within 24 hours. 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. It’s possible to argue that social media is what made streetwear mainstream.
Before the internet, you could only get the latest releases by being there at the right moment. You also had to search the shops to find limited-edition items. 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.
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 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