Ah yes, the hypebeast legacy. The inevitable sh*t storm of overspending on items of clothing which, in all honesty, aren’t worth it.
Supreme, A Bathing Ape. Gucci, Versace, Anti Social Social Club, Fear of God, Vlone, Off-White, Feel Like Pablo and Palace. These brands have swept the world in a fever one can only describe as ‘questionable’.
You can argue with me all day about how these items are actually worth it, but I won’t listen because they aren’t. Don’t even try and convince me that a white t-shirt with a single red box sporting the word ‘Supreme’ is worth $400. It isn’t.
Sorry to burst your bubble folks. I grudge paying over £25 for a t-shirt most days so, you can imagine how I feel when I see people my age, and younger, doing their best to make themselves look like a walking billboard crossed with a spasm on MS Paint.
Before we go any further though, let’s determine what the phrase ‘hypebeast’ actually means. After some time scouring the Internet to see what exactly our society defines a hypebeast as, I stumbled across a somewhat crude, yet accurate description on the stalwart website ‘urbandictionary.com’. To quote the provider of the definition – a Mr Sandy Miller – “A hypebeast is a person who follows a trend to be cool or in style. A person who wears what is ‘hyped up’.”
The Internet and its unquestionable sources never cease to amaze do they? So there we have it – a hypebeast is essentially someone who buys and wears the latest fashion that is popular, just to stay relevant themselves, regardless of the price it incurs… bit shallow isn’t it.
Why don’t we venture into some of these brands and find out what exactly it is that they’re doing that makes them so irresistible to their target market, of literally anyone with more cash than common sense.
Supreme are arguably the biggest streetwear brand in the world right now, and don’t they know it. They’ve established themselves as consistent providers of some of the most coveted hypebeast items by dropping new clothing and accessory releases continuously, every Thursday at exactly 11am. To give you an idea of how massive they are, most of the stock is sold out within a matter of minutes – if not seconds.
In fact, Supreme have reached a stage where I think they’ve just acknowledged their influence on the fashion world, and are just starting to pitch ideas in the drawing room, while high as a kite purely for the fun of it.
Last year, in one of their Thursday drops, one of the useful accessories and sought after items that Supreme dropped was a brick. No, you read that right. A literal brick. For building homes.
Printed with the ‘Supreme’ logo of course, to warrant the audacious price tag of £28. A brick at Wickes costs 48p. The resale value of this brick shot up so much that at one point, there were bids of $1000 coming in for it on eBay.
This is why I just don’t get the ‘hype’ surrounding these releases. Why release random items and slap your logo on it. Because its too easy. I give them credit, because they know exactly what they’re doing. At this point they could release literally anything, be it a single nail or a bag of air – people would buy it without hesitating – the brick proved that. (Personally I would have gone for the bargain at Wickes for my new garden wall.)
And then there’s your more ‘clothing only’ orientated brands like Off-White, which is pioneered by fashion designer Virgil Abloh. They have quickly gained a reputation for being a clothing choice of the rich and famous – namely American rappers – such as Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti.
Its edgy design, putting obvious yet random words in quotation marks on their products, such as “shoelaces” on shoelaces and “for walking” on boots, has grabbed the attention of hypebeasts across the globe, and its recent collaboration with Nike has put it firmly near the top of the charts in terms of streetwear. The price is a problem again, with most ‘upper’ garments (t-shirts, jumpers and jackets) floating at around the £300-£600 mark.
Then we have A Bathing Ape. The gift that just keeps on giving. It is the ultimate hypebeast brand. Designed by some bloke called ‘Nigo’ in Japan back in 1993, A Bathing Ape went from strength to strength throughout the 2000’s and asserted itself as one of the veterans in the market, releasing collaborations with clothing giants like Adidas, Converse and the aforementioned Supreme, as well as individual industries like Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Nintendo, Star Wars and even Disney.
‘Bape’, as it is commonly known among its avid followers, has featured designs from world-renowned celebrities like Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Snoop Dogg and Kid Cudi. All of these ‘collabs’ have done nothing but increase A Bathing Apes reputation and grip on the market, but this still does not warrant the prices that the brand continuously insists on charging.
I will admit my own hypocrisy though. My classmates would not at all be surprised to see me stroll down the lecture hall wearing a Supreme leopard lined leather jacket. What they wouldn’t expect, is for to have payed the mammoth price tag attached to the item. I just don’t understand! The need to make profit, yes. But my oh my £400 for a simple white tee, no thanks!
Maybe I should round this up. I can only rant about this kind of culture for so long before I end up ‘accidentally’ offending someone because I said Balenciaga shoes look awful.
Actually one more thing.
Maybe I was wrong to make it seem like I don’t like this type of fashion, because I do. I even admire what streetwear bands do to keep themselves at the top of their game. The fresh and eye catching designs they continue to produce, and even (to an extent) the strategies they use to keep their market interested.
What I don’t approve of though is just how they exploit said market.
Now people may argue that the actual cost of clothing from brands such as Supreme, or shoe brands like Jordans isn’t actually that bad. And it is in fact resellers who extort the prices to an astonishing amount. I understand this, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that people are still willing to pay the prices they do, regardless of who they buy it from.
People are only paying what they do purely for the name or label, which I suppose you could say is true for most clothing brands, but the extent to which people go and pay for brands just to be a ‘Hypebeast’…uggghhh
Anyway. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m away to check when my next SAAS is due – Supreme drops on Thursday…