Fashion File: Hypebeast fashion takes over the industry and celebrities’ wardrobes

Julia Bischoff, Staff Writer

New York City has always been a hotbed for new fashion trends and all sorts of outlandish styles, but recently “Hypebeast” fashion has taken over.  Among other high-end stores in SoHo, one can find brands like Supreme, Champion, BAPE (A Bathing Ape), Kith and Yeezys in between stores like Gucci and Versace.  The followers of these brands and trends, or the Hypebeasts themselves, can be seen zig-zagging in and out of these stores wearing all of their favorite brands in the form of sweatpants, hoodies, shoes, and t-shirts covered in logos and different types of branding.

Although they’re all categorized as “hypebeast brands,” these companies boast extremely different styles.

Supreme’s website describes the company as “the home of New York City skater culture,” and that “skaters, punks, and hip hop heads—the young counter culture at large—all gravitate toward Supreme.”

BAPE, while just as popular and influential, has a completely different style. This brand was first established in Tokyo but came over to the U.S. in 2003 and has become wildly successful in the US ever since. They claim that their brand is a lifestyle brand and “strives to introduce Japanese culture into the world.”  Even though these brands are very different, they often collaborate — or “collab” — with each other to create products that sell for even higher prices.  The resurrection the the brand Champion is due in part to their numerous collaborations with Supreme where their products will sell for much higher than they normally do. Regular Champion sweatshirts will sell for about $85, but when they collaborated with Supreme, their prices skyrocketed to, on average, over $200. Champion calls itself a “premium athleisure destination” and “home of the hoodie.”

These brands also have A-list celebrities to thank for their fame and influence.  When not representing his own brand, Kanye West can also be found promoting his favorite items from other hypebeast brands.  In a tweet, Kanye posted a picture of him wearing a rare Supreme t-shirt and the price skyrocketed instantly.  The same can be said of him when seen wearing brands like Champion, Independent, and his own brand, Yeezy.  In a way, he is a walking advertisement for all of his favorite brands.

Hypebeast brands are not found in typical department stores.  Shoppers can find these in their own highly exclusive shops scattered around New York City — mostly SoHo — and a handful of other locations ranging from Japan to London to Paris to Brooklyn.  Almost all of these locations, however, have huge lines with extremely long waits to just get inside the store.  The Supreme store has three different entrances on three different streets with a line at each one.  When I asked the security guard how to get inside, he asked me if I’d been waiting there overnight.  Then, when entering the BAPE store, I had to wait on line for nearly 30 minutes to get inside, but I was told it could have been much longer. When I got inside there were only a few racks of clothing on the first floor, all of which bore the same branding of an ape’s face in all different colors and styles.  Most of the items were marked at around $300, but there were other items that were much more expensive.  The second floor featured mostly shoes, but also a couple of different sweatshirts and other articles of clothing.

For those who do not live close enough to go to one of these stores, Hypebeast items can also be bought online.  However, items usually sell out quickly online soon after being release. If you can’t get to the store and were not able to buy anything online fast enough, there is a huge resale market for these brands. Websites like Ebay have hundreds of listings of all different Hypebeast brands that sell for even higher than they do in stores.  For example, the simple Supreme t-shirt with the logo on a plain white t-shirt could sell anywhere from $100-$400 simply because it can no longer be found on their website or at nearby Supreme stores. There is an entire website called Hypebeast that is devoted to guiding consumers through buying and reselling some of the biggest brands (like Supreme, BAPE, and Yeezy mentioned above).

Despite the steep cost of hypebeast merchandise, brands like Supreme and BAPE are certainly selling.  The manager at the BAPE said that almost everyone who comes in buys something, and most of their customers are teenagers and people in their early twenties.  This explains why these companies are so wildly successful. These brands thrive off of being the coolest “it brands,” and their likeability is what makes them so popular.

“It is a little club, a secret society,” said famous rapper Tyler the Creator in the New York Times.  This degree of exclusivity makes customers feel special, but also evokes interest leading to sales.