The word Hypebeast emerged in 2005, with the introduction of an underground sneaker blog by Hong Kong based Kevin Ma. The blog built its following by sharing information about exclusive sneaker drops. Such was the interest and success of this, Hypebeast expanded to cover streetwear, lifestyle and digital. In 2012, Hypebeast expanded to include a curated collection available for direct e-commerce.
What is a Hypebeast?
If every culture has it’s geeks, Hypebeasts are the geeks of streetwear. Founded in sneaker culture, the definition describes the desire to own the latest ‘thing’. We all know that sneakers are collectible with a perceived value far above the retail price. However, the same ethos is now applied to other items produced by iconic brands. The rise in vintage sales and alternative marketing such as auctions and competitions to buy items is testament to this, with customers willing to pay a premium price for rare and collectible items.
The question is why is owning certain items is so important? The first wave shared the ethos of streetwear, and was about self expression and a genuine love for building an individual curated look from their favorite and emerging brands. The streetwear brands support this aspiration with a buying strategy of ‘drop culture’. This was originally cultivated by Supreme, who released limited edition products in limited locations. It is still common for streetwear brands to be smaller, independent companies like Perverse Demand who buy exclusive drops which don’t stick around for very long.
As Hypebeast culture has grown and globalized, regional differences have also emerged. In Japan individuality remains key, whereas in China demand centers around the trendiest items. Favorite and sought after brands differ between countries. All are heavily influenced by celebrities, meaning that celebrity endorsement can see items sell out in seconds.
Should you become one?
If you love streetwear and sneakers, you may already be described this way! Do you enter auctions and competitions for the right to buy certain exclusive, luxury items? Do you seek out certain pieces, because you’ve see your favorite celebrity in that same item? There is no question that Brands, rely on passionate, fashion forward, consumers. At Perverse Demand, we love our customers individual sense of style and their desire to seek out something different to the crowd.
Hypebeast can, however, become a derogatory term when it’s used to describe someone whose consumerism is fueled only by the desire to achieve materialistic status. A good example of this is the queue which formed in London, for the launch of the Supreme Brick. This was originally priced at £28, but can now be found on resale sites for prices running into the £100s. This asks the question, did the consumers need or love the brick, or did they buy it, just to be able to say they had, or to make money from the resale?
In the end the underlying motivation of your next streetwear purchase is really the most important thing. The best motivation for building a collection of gorgeous luxury pieces, and seeking out rare items from resellers, is because they reflect your individuality and personal style. If you feel good you will look good. Live on your own terms!