19/12/2016 - 14:13

Don’t ignore the hype

19/12/2016 - 14:13


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Business News work experience student Jay Lake explains how some fashion consumers aim to profit from their purchases.

HIGH END: Garth Mariano says offshore sales of Lo-Fi’s Butter Goods brand this year surpassed Australian sales. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Business News work experience student Jay Lake explains how some fashion consumers aim to profit from their purchases.

The ‘hype wear’ or ‘streetwear’ culture has emerged from the fringes into a movement with its own behaviours, language and rules.

These days, many consumers are actually resellers who simply buy ‘hype’ products in order to sell them for a larger sum. Resellers will be the first in line when new items ‘drop’ and will look to make a profit from their purchase, most notably from sneakers.

Collectors also form a large segment of the market; people who purchase shoes or apparel not with the intention of wearing it, but rather to hang or frame. (Think Yeezy footwear and Air Jordans – anything with high demand and low supply.)

Other examples include Supreme, A Bathing Ape (BAPE), Gosha Rubchinskiy (Gosha), Antisocial-social club (ASSC) and CDG (Comme Des Garcons) and many, many more. Even commonly thought of sporting brands like Nike and Adidas rival these specialist brands with much sought-after products, both in shoes and apparel.

Branding plays a big part in what generates interest, as do celebrities and other fashion icons, who use social media to promote their choices.

A smaller (sub)community seeks out high-fashion products, with brands including Rick Owens, Vetements and to some extent Yohji Yamamoto (Y-3). The cost of these brands might seem absurd to those outside this culture.

Celebrities such as Kanye West with his high-priced ‘Yeezy’ shoes and clothing have also become part of the scene.

Like any business, resellers need to know their trade – what is valuable and how to find it. And, of course, an item’s value can plunge if even minor flaws are detected.

It is an international business and with a truly worldwide following, with websites and social media promoting items, brands and the culture.

Some items, or even whole labels, require a visit to the actual shop, usually in fashion hubs such as New York, London, Tokyo or Paris.

While it is intensely competitive, there is also a high degree of collaboration between different players in the sector to create rare one-off products.

The culture is most popular among teenage boys and men in their early 20s.

Few shops in Australia supply this kind of gear and even fewer still in Western Australia, which means consumers here have to look globally for many products. Perth shops such as Highs and Lows, Lo-Fi and Cabinet Noir make up the small collection of shops in WA that operate in this business sector.

Highs and Lows recently released the triple black Adidas Ultra Boost – an unusual occurrence in WA for a shoe that gained such significant exposure. 


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