What is a Hypebeast?


What is the Sneaker reselling business and why has it become so big? Who and what is a hypebeast? These are the questions that plague the everyday lives of Harriton students.

According to dictionary.com, “a hypebeast is 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.”

In 2005, sneaker enthusiast and college student Kevin Ma created a website to document his fashion interests. He chose to call it “Hypebeast” after the slang term for a trend-chaser. There seems to be conflicting definitions about what a “hypebeast” is.

Most people agree that a hypebeast is interested in doing what’s in vogue to impress other people, like buying trendy, new shoes, snapbacks, or sweatshirts. Others argue that a hypebeast usually uses other people’s money, typically belonging to their parents or older siblings.

Others claim that a hypebeast has an abundance of cash flow of their own that allows them to purchase such luxuries. Hypebeasts wear popular brands like Stussy, Crooks and Castles, Supreme, Huf, Vans, Nike, Jordan, Adidas, Bape, and Yeezy.

While I believe a hypebeast is a person who collects expensive clothes and shoes, buys them, and sells them based on hype, the definitions vary. I asked several Harriton students to define “hypebeast”:

  1. “People that wear things that are trending.”
  2. “Somebody who collects shoes—like really expensive shoes.”
  3. “Someone who wears supreme and is a sneakerhead.”

Reselling sneakers has become a $55 billion global industry. According to the sneakerhead data website StockX, the secondary market for rare and limited-release sneakers is estimated to be worth over $1 billion.

This is fueled by Nike and its long-standing Jordan brand. People wait in lines for hours and spend tens of thousands of dollars just to get their hands on the latest pair of sneakers.

As I walk around school, I notice many of my peers wearing Supreme and Yeezy brands and wonder why some of these Harriton students buy such expensive sneakers. Perhaps some of the students wear these brands because of genuine appeal, others wear the brands to fit in or be labeled as “trend-setters,” and others buy and sell the brands just to make profits.

Regardless of the word’s definition, one thing is clear: hypebeasts view themselves as fashion leaders, and brands like Supreme and Yeezy will continue to feed off of hypebeasts’ thirst to sport the “next big thing.”