Hypebeasts — The Other Side of Streetwear

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Hypebeasts — The Other Side of Streetwear

A comparable item's price is the difference between a streetwear connoisseur and a hypebeast.

A comparable item's price is the difference between a streetwear connoisseur and a hypebeast.

NAZLI ARDITI/THE OBSERVER

A comparable item's price is the difference between a streetwear connoisseur and a hypebeast.

NAZLI ARDITI/THE OBSERVER

NAZLI ARDITI/THE OBSERVER

A comparable item's price is the difference between a streetwear connoisseur and a hypebeast.

By DUNCAN TAYLOR, Contributing Writer

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We’ve all seen it. On campus, on the subway and in the streets, it seems that logo is inescapable. Its incredibly simplistic design features the brand’s name, Supreme, in Futura Bold Italic font inside a red rectangle. That’s really all it is. But this same simple design has spawned a global phenomenon which has stretched across cities and campuses alike. Fordham Lincoln Center is one of those campuses. Brands like Supreme, Balenciaga, Gucci and Louis Vuitton are seen adorned on shirts, hats and bags all over the place. But just how much of this high-end clothing is too much? The answer to that question might be a little more complicated than you’d think.

For any fashion-forward student who enjoys dabbling in streetwear style, the dilemma when picking an outfit is ever-present: do I wear that Supreme top? What about the Gucci belt? The Louis bag? Whether you’re familiar with the term or not, you might be afraid of being labeled a hypebeast.

In popular culture, a hypebeast is somebody who lacks a personal sense of style, and, rather than dressing for themselves, buys expensive (often designer-brand) items to try and fit in with the hype and trends. Hypebeasts often create entire outfits consisting solely of these designer items, perhaps something like a Balenciaga hat, Supreme jacket, Balmain jeans and Gucci shoes.

But just where is the line drawn between hypebeast and streetwear connoisseur? A lot of that difference is seen in the price tag. Most hypebeast items, whether they’re Supreme’s coveted $500 North Face jacket or Gucci’s $650 embroidered sneakers, are typically much more expensive than those commonly worn by streetwear fans. A popular streetwear shoe, the white FILA Disruptor, retails for around $70, which makes it much more affordable than other sought-after items.

On campus, Fordham students have also come to understand the distinction between what’s streetwear and what’s hypebeast material in their own ways. When asked about his perception of hypebeasts on campus, Paolo Estrella, Gabelli School of Business ’20, said, “Hypebeasts are everywhere. Not gonna lie, I see a ton of international students dressed in hypebeast ’fits. I think it’s just a flex of wealth and is pretty shallow.”

While most hypebeasts’ outfits consist of designer smacked on top of designer, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to own some hyped-up items. In fact, mixing hype brands with more casual low-end streetwear can actually work out well. As Zoe Mader, Fordham College at Rose Hill ’22, explained, “It doesn’t matter who or what brand you’re wearing as long as you actually style it with taste.”

The line between streetwear and hypebeast territory is a thin one, but when crossed over tastefully, it can yield interesting and creative results. At the end of the day, one of the greatest aspects of streetwear is its room for self-expression and creativity. By dabbling in both ends of the spectrum, you can find new ways to achieve a unique style with personal flair.