It’s all about hype. Coined by, well, HYPEBEAST, it refers to men who dress according to the latest trends. But not every trend – they have particular love for exclusive collaboration sneakers, limited edition skater hats and beanies, and street-ready loungewear. Heavily influenced by urban “hood” culture, the Hypebeast emulates the styles of hip-hop artists like Jay-Z and Kanye West, and look to NBA stars Russell Westbrook and Iman Shumpert more for their off-court outfits than their lay-ups. Anything that’s bling or displays a savviness about the latest hip-hop statement, most commonly an actual marquee on a sweatshirt or cap, is an essential feature in the Hypebeast’s style (think: I woke up like this).
A HYPEBEAST’S PROFILE
The Hypebeast can be found lining up outside such stores as Supreme for the latest collaboration sneakers while discussing with a fellow gangsta about the latest hip-hop or rap release. He can tell one pair of sneakers from another by brand and collaborator, and is always excited about lining up for the upcoming release of another limited edition product. He’s got swagger and he ain’t shy about showing it.
The style is relaxed and loosely fitted, but often layered from top to bottom: skater cap or beanie; sweatshirts, hoodies, or leather jackets over an oversized t-shirt; loose sweatpants, low-rise hanging-on-hip jeans, or basketball long shorts; the latest collab sneakers, which usually is a statement piece. Save the bottoms, one or more items on the Hypebeast may contain statement words or brand names either in block font or glamorous cursive. On top of all this, there may also be statement accessories that provide either color or bling factor to finish the look, in the form of wayfarers, extra-long necklaces, or wide-brimmed caps. While there is room for splashes of color, usually in complex patterns or muted floral prints, most of a Hypebeast’s wardrobe favors black, white, and every shade of grey in between.
The Hypebeast style originated from the rough urban streets of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, but has travelled all across Scandinavia, Western Europe, and East Asia. These foreign counterparts have infused the style with more flair, creating more daring looks with florals, bright colors, and more tapered profiles. See artistes like Korean rapper Bumkey who rocks blond hair with gold chains, and British rap group Hawk House who throws in some tight tailoring and wool fedoras for an Old World twist.
WHO IS IT FOR?
If you’re always on the grind with your Beats headphones on, pounding the 808 and rapping to Kanye, you’re probably a good candidate for a Hypebeast. The African American community may be the ones spearheading the style, but anyone can get on board. It’s a comfortable style that’s bold and relatively easy to access – just make sure you keep up with the latest releases of sneakers and skater hats. It’s easy to tell if you haven’t got an authentic swagger, so if you’re not always on top of your rap game, give this a miss.
TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED
Layers, layers, layers. Build your wardrobe around the spectrum of colors between black and white – a surefire way to make sure your items always match each other. That being said, don’t hesitate to throw in an occasional splash of color (muted florals and gold preferred). Decide on one statement piece, whether it’s a cap or a marquee tee, and work your look around that item. Materials like jersey, patent leather, and lycra are your best bets. Final no-brainer: always stay on top of sneaker trends!
BRANDS TO EXPLORE
- Bathing Ape
- Diamond Supply Co.
- Phillip Plein