The Evolution of the Hypebeast: An Illustrated Guide


My name is Dean Walker and I’m a Hypebeast!. I’ve just read this great article on Complex and realised Ive been a few of the evolution of the Hypebeast. How many can you releate to? Remember the first step to revovery is to admit you have a problem.

Since the dawn of time, there has always been “that guy” who takes a trend way too far. Maybe it started with some neanderthal who thought he would start rocking his loincloth a certain way, or a colonial cornball who wanted to channel Ben Franklin’s bifocals and a white wig with the ill knickerbockers and buckle shoes look. While that stuff can’t historically be proven, we can certainly look back at the past couple of years of trends and point to one unifying cause: the Internet.

Ever since guys have had resources to rely on for sneaker releases, streetwear drops, and hot new brands, men with the inability to think for themselves have blindly followed trends—and there are times when every guy has bought into the hype of a buzzed-about release or brand. This is a tongue-in-cheek look at how that dude’s shopping habits and personal tastes have changed over the years. We examined the trajectory of the Nike SB diehard to the savvy denimhead, to the leather-dripped street goth of today. We present The Evolution of the Hypebeast: An Illustrated Guide.


Early 2000s: The OG Sneakerhead

 Favorite brands: Supreme, Jordan Brand, Recon, Subware

Sneaker culture has existed long before the Internet, but in 1999, Nelson Cabral’s NikeTalk forum allowed like-minded dudes to talk all things Jordan. The whole “sneakerhead” thing really popped off in the early 2000s, when Stussy started collaborating with Nike, and Nike SB started hooking up with skate companies to make kicks even non-skaters drooled over.

1. Yankees fitted
2. Worn-in Supreme Box Logo T-shirt
3. Old Navy Cargo Shorts
4. Supreme x Nike SB Dunk Lows (NikeTalk trade for Jordan 1 Retros)


2005: The Pharrell Stan

 Favorite brands: Billionaire Boys Club, Ice Cream, Nike SB

Avid sneakerheads started looking for fresh gear to rock with their kicks. Kevin Ma put his “Hypebeast” website online as a way to document the latest sneakers coming out, in an easier to digest form than forums like NikeTalk and SuperFuture. Pharrell Williams was the reigning king of style, and got dudes to draw themselves as Baby Milo characters and  put them on to all-over print hoodies and brands like OriginalFake and A Bathing Ape. Streetwear brands like Crooks & Castles, 10.Deep, The Hundreds, and Pharrell’s own Billionaire Boys Club gained steam as more and more dudes wanted to get on the wavy train.

1. BAPE Hoodie (Bought off SuperFuture)
2. Baby Milo Tee (Doesn’t know it’s fake)
3. BBC Dog Denim
4. Nike SB x Diamond Supply Co. Tiffany Dunks (Overpaid on eBay)


2006: The Zipped-Up Hoodie Head

 Favorite brands: G-Shock, Kidrbot, LRG, Evisu, BAPE

Japanese brands like BAPE, Kiks TYO, and Evisu denim began to captivate the minds and bodies of dudes who just wanted to dress as dope as possible—and didn’t mind dropping serious amounts of cash to do so. Before the fame, Kid Cudi worked at the BAPE store in NYC, where he met Kanye West after failing to take off an anti-theft device from a jacket he purchased. West’s career was taking off at the time, as his second album Late Registration didn’t succumb to the sophomore slump. Appearances in LRG ads and a style that favored Louis Vuitton backpacks and pink polos ushered hip-hop style into a preppier, more luxe phase—peppered with plenty of hoodies that zipped all the way up.

1. LRG Dead Serious Hoodie (‘Cause Kanye wore it…)
2. Kiks TYO T-shirt
3. Evisu Jeans
4. Incredible Hulk BAPEStas (Bought from Scott Mescudi at the Busy Workshop)


2007: The Wannabe Sk8er

 Favorite brands: Vans, The Hundreds, Nudie Jeans, Supra

A skater/hipster aesthetic permeated the Internet style set, and for some reason or another every other dude was rocking a keffiyeh. Supra sneakers were the one to own that summer, with guys finding ways to show off the tongue and colorways inspired by everything from Japanese kamikaze fighters to metallic gold. “Raw” unwashed denim started seeping in thanks to companies like Nudie and A.P.C., and early adopters were quick to cop pair to break in for some “sick fades” to show off on online forums. To make the breaking in process easier, dudes started buying entry-level fixed gear bikes—like a Mercier Kilo TT or a Bianchi Pista. Most people who hopped on that trend haven’t ridden their bike since.

1. Insensitive Keffiyeh
2. Supreme Flannel
3. Nom de Guerre Ballistic Down Vest
4. Nudie Slim Jim Jeans (Worn for 4 Months Only)
5. Supra Skytops


2008: The “Kanye To The” Forum Member

 Favorite brands: Rogue Status, Staple, A.P.C. (jeans only), Anything Kanye wears

Kanye West’s shutter shades went from onstage outfit to prominent accessory of the year. Cardigans featured heavily in the streetwear scene—because prep was kind of a thing but no one wanted to full on dress like Cartlon Banks. Forums like Kanye To The and Dress Like Kanye West propel the rapper from up-and-comer to full-fledged style icon. Collaborations with Louis Vuitton and Nike amp up his cred considerably. Streetwear saw some corny missteps like all-over print T-shirts emblazoned with guns, and market saturation was reaching a critical mass. Dudes were looking in the mirror, seeing their neon neckerchiefs and snapbacks and thought: “Maybe I look a littletoo ridiculous.”

1. Staple Pigeon Snapback
2. Shutter Shades (Purchased after the “Stronger” music video came out)
3. Neckerchief
4. BBC Cardigan
5. Rogue Status AK-47 T-shirt
6. Vans x Supreme Bad Brains Sk8-Hi (Bought at Flight Club)


2009: The Streetwear Survivor

 Favorite Brands: Mishka, ONLY NY, Stussy, CLOT, Nike Sportswear

Streetwear brands wane in popularity, but the whole varsity jacket with a T-shirt thing stays around. Waxed denim becomes prevalent in a world where breaking in your jeans are the norm. Instead of fading, the waxed coating becomes shinier over time, giving them a shiny, leather-like look. Companies like Mishka, ONLY, and PEGLEG NYC still cater to downtown cool guys who love graphic tees and snapbacks. Meanwhile, cult brands like Nom de Guerre, Noah, and Spruce elevate streetwear to a more menswear-friendly territory with higher-quality hoodies and more tailored pieces.

1. Mishka Varsity Jacket
2. ONLY NY T-shirt
3. PEGLEG NYC x Opening Ceremony x G-Shock Watch
4. Nudie Thin Finn Black Waxed Denim
5. Air Yeezys (Camped out for 1 week before; Ate ramen for 6 months after)


2010: The Denimhead

 Favorite Brands: Skull, 3sixteen, Samurai, The Flat Head, Somet

The raw denim craze goes mainstream, not only inspiring shops like Blue In Green and Self Edge to open up, but for denimheads to find rare brands to nerd out over. In addition to artisan japanese companies like Samurai, Skull, Somet, and Sugar Cane, newer companies sprout up. 3sixteen reinvents itself from graphic tees to raw denim and sturdy offerings like Quoddy collaborations and duffel coats; a New Zealand man by the name of Ande Whall develops a cult following for his jeans. Dudes trade in their T-shirts for oxford button downs and chambray shirts, and J. Crew is one of the first big retailers to notice, and changes up their menswear to appeal to this new breed of style-conscious guys.

1. 3sixteen Duffel Coat
2. J. Crew Chambray (Just discovered J. Crew yesterday)
3. Filson Briefcase
4. A.P.C. New Standards (Can’t move legs)
5. 3sixteen x Quoddy Deck Chukkas


2011: The Americana Addict

 Favorite brands: Engineered Garments, Levi’s Vintage Clothing, Filson, Unis, Red Wing, The Hill-Side

Thanks to blogs like A Continuous Lean and Inventory, where and how clothes are made matters more than ever to savvy male shoppers. The “urban lumberjack” aesthetic becomes a thing in major cities, and storied brands like Filson, Alden, and Red Wing find themselves being sought after by a younger audience. Meanwhile, modern brands with a nostalgic view of American sportswear grow popular too, like Engineered Garments, Nigel Cabourn, The Hill-Side, and Mark McNairy.

1. Levi’s Vintage Clothing Trucker Jacket (Only used as a layer)
2. Gitman Bros. Vintage Oxford Shirt
3. Engineered Garments Field Jacket
4. Unis Gio Chinos (Tucked into boots, natch)
5. Mark McNairy x HAVEN Boots


2012: The Designer-Dripped #Influencer

 Favorite brands: Givenchy, En Noir, SSUR, Black Scale, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Balmain, Comme des Garcons

Hip-hop, menswear, and fashion have all combined to be a dominant force when it comes to influencing what guys wear. Rappers’ penchant for Givenchy T-shirts (sup, Riccardo Tisci?) turns the brand into a hot streetwear brand despite its high-fashion prices. SSUR’s “Comme des Fuckdown” pieces channels the spirit of Canal St. bootlegs with a subversive bent, making the “fashion parody” its own genre. Dudes begin trading in their well-worn raw denim for designer pieces like Balmain biker jeans and En Noir leather sweatpants, ushering in the “all-leather everything” trend. Paying for things becomes passé, the real move is getting brands to send you shit for free, because Instagram and Tumblr helps any person create a “personal brand” with which they can influence other people to buy whatever they’re wearing.

1. SSUR “Comme des Fuckdown” Beanie (Paid for in “blogger bucks”)
2. 3.1 Phillip Lim Braided Leather Jacket (On loan from the showroom)
3. Givenchy Shark Sweater
4. En Noir Leather Sweatpants (Gifted from Rob Garcia)
5. Nike Air Yeezy IIs


2013: The Rebloggable Street Goth

 Favorite brands: Hood By Air, Been Trill, KTZ, LPD New York, 40 Oz. NY, Anything on Tumblr

A$AP Rocky was right: Clothes got weirder. But they also got less colorful, and more #influenced by Internet culture than ever. Brands like Hood By Air, PYREX, LPD New York, 40 Oz. NY, and Been Trill owe much of their fame to Tumblr users and Internet-savvy kids on Instagram. Stunting online became much more prevalent than doing so in real life, and you started seeing these kids pop up at underground parties and high-profile events like fashion week in New York, London, and Paris. Two middle fingers in the air? That’s pretty much the new attitude of streetwear.

1. 40 Oz. NY x Been Trill Hat
2. Hood By Air x Been Trill T-shirt (Bought from V-Files shop)
3. PYREX Flannel (Refreshed RSVP Gallery site 100 times in order to cop)
4. KTZ Shorts/Leggings Combo
5. Nike Lunar Flyknit Chukkas


One response to “The Evolution of the Hypebeast: An Illustrated Guide

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s