Hype clothing is worth the hype?
When it comes to streetwear, you may have heard the terms “hype clothing” or even “bonking brand”. But do you know what it all means or why it’s called that? Let’s dig in and get some knowledge on all things 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.
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 discover how the Hype Around Streetwear, also known as hype clothing, became one of fashion’s most beloved trends.
What is Bonking Brand anyway?
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. Although they may not have any assets, they pretend to have it all. 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.
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” will often be found camping outside supreme store to ensure that they are first to receive the latest drops.
What does it take to build the “Hype” around brands and products?
Many streetwear brands have adopted the “drop” marketing strategy. 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 and queens of streetwear. 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. 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 of course can be purchased in any store, but these “hypebeasts” will happily queue for hours on end to have the latest and most popular releases.
Many luxury fashion labels are following suit, releasing similar products after streetwear brands have enjoyed success.
Burberry released a series last year to promote their streetwear collection. Customers were given just 24 hours to order. 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.
The streetwear scene is also heavily influenced by social media and the “hype” created around brands. It’s possible to argue that social media is what made streetwear mainstream.
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.
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 be teased via social media for weeks or months ahead of the actual drop date. Twitter is also a key part of bringing back this community element. Twitter allows you to talk about and conspire with other hype beasts regarding the next drops.
A new arrival to the Hype Street Wear World is Bonking