Is hypebeast culture dead?

Is hypebeast culture dead?

by Robyn Pullen
5 min

What happened to all the hypebeasts? Dressed head to toe in designer labels from Supreme to Palace to FEAR OF GOD ESSENTIALS, followers of hypebeast culture used to dominate streetwear, pushing said brands into the limelight by purchasing products at eye-watering prices before resale sites increased them to even more. However, recently it’s been feeling like the culture’s kind of fallen off and we’ve been left wondering: is hypebeast culture dead?

“Hypebeast” is basically a term used to describe someone who buys into current trends with an avid obsession, mainly to make a social statement or symbolise their status through their clothes. Hypebeast culture is typically associated with an array of luxury streetwear brands, notably ones with a hefty price tag or an iconic logo, including: Supreme, Stüssy, Palace, Nike, ESSENTIALS, Stone Island, Yeezy (before it was cancelled), and more.

@stoniestudios ©

Back in hypebeast culture’s hay day – aka the mid 2010s to the early 2020s – these brands were thriving through their limited drops, exclusive collaborations, and the cult following they had fostered. Supreme was as iconic for its collaborations with luxury houses as it was for its sickeningly high prices, with the perfect example being a Supreme X Louis Vuitton suitcase that was auctioned in 2017 for £92,256, making it Supreme’s highest-selling piece of all time.

In case you couldn’t tell from that price tag, Supreme used to be one of the most sought after labels in hypebeast culture, immediately recognizable from its iconic firetruck-red colour scheme and bold, white logo. However, you’ve probably heard the growing rumours around the brand’s demise, and we’re sorry to say that they’re true. In fact, luxury insider The Robb Report confirmed in a recent article exactly how real the rumours are, citing that the brand suffered a $38.4 million dollar decline in revenue at the end of the last financial year in March. Not ideal.

Stock X©

FEAR OF GOD – the brand behind the hypebeast lover’s favourite luxury streetwear destination, ESSENTIALS – has evidently spotted this decline and is trying to get as far away from the sinking ship as it can. Whilst ESSENTIALS, largely known for its logo-emblazoned hoodies and tees, has come to be associated with the now faltering hypebeast culture, Jerry Lorenzo, the founder of both brands, seems to have decided he’s not letting FEAR OF GOD be tarnished with the same brush.

This could be why the brand put on its first ever runway show earlier this year, in an effort to establish a separation between the two brands and remind us that FEAR OF GOD is more elevated than its sister brand, ESSENTIALS. In fact, the FEAR OF GOD FW23 show back in May was giving anything but hypebeast. Instead it featured clean tailoring, elevated outerwear, and luxurious accessories.

Fear of God©

We’ve started to wonder whether the move away from hypebeast culture is simply a natural progression we should’ve all seen coming. Logo-mania and excessive flaunting of labels is a trend that comes in and out of fashion endlessly, but it’s never been consistent for more than a few years at a time. Time to ditch Supreme for The Row and the zeitgeist changes.

This isn’t even an uncommon trend in fashion given that we’ve been seeing streetwear brands infiltrate the luxury world for some time, from Aimé Leon Dore to Awake NY replacing their sweats and tees for pea-coats and prep. Plus, it’s not as though hype culture in general has totally diminished, as Corteiz has clearly taken a page out of Supreme’s book in terms of its marketing strategy.

Basically, we’re not holding a funeral for hypebeast culture, because it’ll be back in a new form within the next few years. Fashion trends might be zombies forever rising from the dead, but it seems like hypebeast culture will be in the ground for a while.

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