The term “hypebeast” is such an aggressive term. What comes to mind when you hear someone use that word? Do you associate it with a negative connotation? Does the idea of someone spending all their parents’ money on a Supreme Box Logo hoodie and a pair of Yeezy 350 V2s come to mind? Well, those images and reactions are just a small part of who actually identifies as a hypebeast.
To unpack the meaning of the word hypebeast and who falls under this category, we must first unpack the definition of the word. Dictionary.com defines the word “hypebeast” as “a mostly derogatory slang word for someone, usually a man, who follows trends in fashion, particularly streetwear, for the purpose of making a social statement.” Essentially, a hypebeast is someone who only wears clothing that has “hype” behind it. However, the term, as the definition states, is used in a derogatory manner. Let me make something clear, I am not offended when people call me a hypebeast and I do not find it offensive. I think people should know that not all people who claim they are a “hypebeast” are associated with the negative, whiny demeanor of someone who throws tantrums and makes fun of people for “not having drip.”
For starters, there is the stereotypical hypebeast who only shows up to school early on Thursday to buy the newest Supreme drop, and not because attendance matters. These are the type of hypebeasts that will go DAYS on end without eating and save their hard earned cash to pay for a bot that has a 99% success rate on getting them a box logo tee. They do this so they can take a single fit pic in their ripped skinny jeans, Gucci belt, and Cactus Jack Jordan 4s, just to sell the tee on Grailed for the title of “reseller,” though only making $20 off the sale. These are the type of guys that ruin the “hypebeast” name and leave a sour taste in the mouth of non-hypebeasts.
On the contrary, there are hypebeasts who have been around the streetwear scene much longer than some hypebeasts have been alive. These hypebeasts remember a time when Kid Cudi and Kanye West were wearing LRG’s “Dead Serious Hoodie.” Typically middle-aged, sometimes new fathers, these hypebeasts wear clothing that Pharrell, Nigo, and the Clipse used to style in the early to late 2000s. From this group, many of the Japanese styling techniques (aka. Japanese denim, relaxed fit jackets, etc.) have been introduced to the younger generation of hypebeasts, and quite frankly, we have a lot to thank these guys for. They were the ones who created the first real hyped shoe when the Pigeon Dunks came out back in ‘05. They were the ones who spent hours on different forums talking about drops as well as buying and selling different pieces. As a matter of fact, Nicky Diamonds (owner and creator of Diamond Supply Co.) owes his success to these brave soldiers of streetwear.The story goes that Nicky Diamonds got his brand started by posting pictures and taking orders of his own t-shirts. Ultimately, I salute these men.
Lastly, there are hypebeasts that just buy clothing, regardless of brand or year, because the pieces make them feel “some way.” I fall into this category. I like anything as long as I can envision what I can wear it with and when the piece came out. We are the hypebeasts who will see a piece everyone slept on, buy it, style it, and eventually make other hypebeasts regret their sleeping on the piece. We have no concern for what people say about our pieces, rather, we let them speak so we can continue to find pieces that only we ultimately love. Ultimately, we just do ourselves and if people like it, they like it, and if they feel conflicted on the piece, we let them feel that way. Style is all about one’s perspective of a piece, so this category of hypebeast takes that literally and buys, styles, and drips far better, and more confidently than the average hypebeast.
Although only a fraction of the community, these three types of hypebeasts are the core of the culture. They have created and shaped the culture to what it is today and continue to forge paths in fashion and streetwear that kids in the future will look back and appreciate.
Written By: Jake Romo
Edited By: Kami Strander