Sophomore Evan Yu anxiously sits in front of his computer and refreshes Supreme’s homepage every Thursday at 8 a.m. While others might be sleeping in, Yu waits patiently for the New York skateboarding brand’s homepage to load in hopes of snatching clothes or accessories from its new collection.
“You’re always on the lookout for new releases,” Yu said. “To be a hypebeast takes commitment.”
Hypebeast is a popular term used among sneakerheads and streetwear enthusiasts. According to Urban Dictionary, it refers to people who collect trendy clothing, shoes or accessories from expensive brands, typically to impress other people. Some brands that are popular among hypebeasts include Supreme, Adidas and Off-White.
This term first became popularized by one of the most influential streetwear websites, HYPEBEAST. In 2005, Kevin Ma launched the website as a personal blog about new sneaker releases and streetwear fashion. Since then, HYPEBEAST has become an international hub for fashion icons and trendsetters including Kanye West and A$AP Rocky.
From Adidas Ultraboosts to Supreme Box Logo Hoodies, students are met with a plethora of brand-name, hypebeast clothing as they walk around campus. Though some do not have an interest in this trendy streetwear clothing, others consider these pieces to be a staple in their wardrobes.
Last year, Yu was introduced to the hypebeast culture while scrolling through photos posted by other hypebeasts on Instagram. One of the first hypebeast brands that he encountered was Supreme. Like many people who are not interested in hypebeast clothing, Yu initially viewed Supreme clothing as overpriced. However, he gradually developed an interest towards Supreme after seeing some of his peers wear the clothing.
Like Yu, many students like to splurge on Supreme clothing. Sophomore Ryan Onbirback, who considers himself a hypebeast, says he purchases these expensive clothes because he likes the attention.
“Being a hypebeast makes you iconic,” Onbirback said. “This outfit alone is almost two thousand dollars.”
While some people might look down on the decision to buy such expensive clothing, hypebeasts feel they have a good reason for purchasing these luxury items. Senior Noah Youngs said his motivation for wearing these name brands was for the looks and the status.
“Streetwear shows the kind of lifestyle you’re trying to embody and the type of mood you try to set for yourself,” Youngs said.
To people like Youngs, trendy streetwear is both a form of expression and a way to further their reputation. According to senior Andrew Wang, these two factors justify the high cost of the clothing.
“If [popular shoes]were cheap, there wouldn’t really be any point because everyone would have them and they would just be cheap shoes,” Wang said. “The price tag comes with the status that they provide.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum is sophomore Elena Chen, who does not believe that wearing hypebeast clothing has any influence on status. In fact, she feels that being a hypebeast is an inefficient way to spend money.
“I honestly don’t see the point. When I see people wearing brand names, I don’t view them differently or think they’re any cooler,” Chen said. “If they’re doing it for the popularity, I don’t think it’s worth the money.”
Hypebeast lifestyle can definitely be expensive, with brand-name products at extremely high prices. For example, while the Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 sneakers retail at $220, it can be very difficult to purchase the shoes directly from the Adidas website. Therefore, many people resort to purchasing the highly-sought sneakers at a much higher price of up to $4,000 through different platforms such as eBay. To people who are not interested in a hypebeast lifestyle, spending large amounts of money on this type of clothing may seem unnecessary.
“Some people might pay for everything themselves, but honestly most people probably use their mom’s credit card,” Chen said. “I don’t think kids our age should spend their parent’s money thinking that they’ll become popular or something.”
While there are certainly people that rely on their parent’s money to sustain a hypebeast lifestyle, Yu said that he makes his own money to purchase all of his luxury clothing.
“People often look down on you if you spend a lot of money on clothes, but I make my own money by teaching kids tennis,” Yu said. “I also resell hypebeast clothing that I purchased at retail price, so I don’t think people should judge me for my purchases.”
Regardless of these conflicting opinions, hypebeasts find great value in their luxury purchases.
“There are often a lot of bad judgments towards people who wear hypebeast clothing, but buying hypebeast clothing is just like collecting antiques,” Yu said. “It’s just something I like to do and I don’t think people should shame hypebeasts [because of]their hobby.”