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The Streetwear Consumer Isn’t Always Who You Think It Is, Says Hypebeast

Hypebeast, the global hub for streetwear and sneaker news, is a curator of cool.

However, as Huan Nguyen, Hypebeast VP of brand collaborations, North America, explained at WWD’s Men’s Style event last week, the site is also in the business of disseminating valuable information.

And in the process, the site has become a “culture Bible” cultivating a generation (or two) of consumers that thrive on being privy to the next drop, collaboration or other culturally relevant sound bite, as well as being a vessel for brands to share their stories.

“I believe that knowledge is the cultural currency,” Nguyen said. “The more you know, the cooler you are.”

With Hypebeast readily available online and through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Flipboard, Nguyen says brands need to learn that information can be a powerful weapon in reaching the right consumers.

“The idea is to give them that information through whichever channel they normally experience that knowledge through,” he said.

After all, the “hype beast” is a diverse animal. “The idea is that this audience is not always the guys that you see rocking head-to-toe Supreme on the corner in SoHo,” Nguyen said. “Sometimes they are in front of a computer doing their thing, but they know a ton about the brands out there. And if you understand that, then in terms of marketing, it is something you should consider because it’s really important.”

The co-mingling of luxury and streetwear has broadened the audience for hype fashion even further, but Nguyen points out that streetwear and luxury have been “best friends” for some time now.

“This has been an on and off dance that has been going on globally,” he said. And out of this dance has come some eclectic collaborations like Thom Browne x Supreme and Moncler x Visvim that have not only brought together designers from opposing genres of fashion, but also from opposite ends of the world.

“What’s exciting about it is not so much the fact that it’s streetwear and luxury come together, this is regional scope. You’re really seeing some cool special moments that are bringing geographical regions together,” Nguyen added.

However, the link between streetwear and luxury is growing stronger. In 2015, Nguyen said Hypebeast had 100 articles about luxury labels like Dior or Louis Vuitton. In 2018, the number of articles mentioning luxury brands more than tripled.

“There was a huge demand here’s a huge appetite for this type of content,” he said. “It was our audience telling us this is what they want to read about.”