VERSUS: Is This the End of the Hype Release?
The start of 2020 has proven to be one of the most unpredictable periods in (sneaker) history. It's getting near-impossible to pick up hyped releases without bending the rules. But what if there aren't as many to begin with? Pack those chairs away – no one's gonna be camping for sneakers anytime soon! And now, with precious drops few and far between, is it even worth chasing every single hot release, or are we in too deep? Does the hype machine stop for no one?
Welcome to VERSUS in 2020.
What do you think? 🔥 away! And as always, make sure you cast your vote below.
Things aren't like how they used to be. It's all hype, hype, hype. I can't keep up! Surely with everything going on in the world, this is the end of the hype release...
Easy now, cowboy. You know how it goes: HYPE RULES. It will never die. What are you crying about?
I don't need to buy hyped sneakers to be happy. My bucket list has been filled, and anything that ends up in my cart – if I can even get that far – just becomes more trouble than it's worth.
Well, if you're not gonna throw your hat in the ring, that's one less person I have to compete with when something drops...
Behind every successful sneaker release there are about 100 failed drops. 'Bricks'. There's simply too much out there, yet not enough of things people actually want! The most-hyped releases are basically the same thing: Dunk SB colabs, running shoe colabs, the umpteenth Yeezy or Air Jordan 1 colourway. Hey, I get supply versus demand, but what happened to variety? Why bother hyping up the same shoe over and over again?
We're spoilt for choice and the spotlight is hitting the right people too. Female designers are slaying right now – Cynthia Lu’s Cactus Plant Flea Market, Chitose Abe’s sacai, Yoon Ahn’s AMBUSH, and Aleali May’s crazy Air Jordans! Virgil Abloh got a job at Louis Vuitton. Kanye West took over Calabasis. The sneaker game is no longer an exclusive, ultra niche group of people terrified of change. It'd be a shame for the hype cycle to stop suddenly, and frankly it aint happening.
Yawn. Aren't you exhausted trying to flex something new, week in, week out? Let's keep it simple. No hype bullshit, no fuss, and I can still get my fix.
The psychology of the hypebeast is hardwired. YOU KNOW THIS. The world could be on the verge of a nuclear armageddon and honeys are still going to get their fit pics up (with a #nofilter mushroom cloud in the backdrop). I don’t think we need to unplug the machine. The console doesn’t have the red ring of death just yet. For every hyped drop, the industry is also moving forward in a better ways. Did you see Nike’s Space Hippie collection?
Space Hippie? Just a start on the enviro end, but we need to do more by doing less. We need to start at a grassroots level and think local. Bring back local manufacturing and support our locals. If New Balance can do it with their USA- and UK-made products, why can't Nike and Converse? Even adidas has had a go at Made In Germany. The current world situation gives the industry a once-in-a-generation opportunity to really change their ways.
Seriously, you can still engage with the sneaker community in ways other than joining a 'cook group'. I can read sneaker books, I can post #throwback content on Instagram, or simply talk to people about shoes without the fear of missing out.
While you're busy in your own little world doomsday prepping for what you think will be the end of all hype sneaker releases, I'm gonna stay ahead of the curve and pick up all the hot stuff (even if it is few and far between!)
Palace and Supreme have both dropped collections during this crisis. A digitised Travis Scott just landed in Fortnite, and people are flexing reverse Skunk Dunks from their living rooms. What’s next? I wouldn’t be surprised if a two-year-old Stormi fed a fucking Air Max 720 to the hypemachine before all of this is over!
We're in a free market, man. Sink or swim. I'm taking my talents to StockX.
Is it really the right time to be caring about what bogo is dropping or what Travis Scott just did in a videogame? Worse still, is resale value all that's important to you?
The resale market is largely sheltered from broader economic impacts – it’s fuelling its own self-perpetuating economy! I got bills to pay and sneakers to buy!
Whaatttt?! The resale market is as volatile as any other commodity. Look how easily prices fluctuate when a trend hits or ends. Dunks are at an all-time high, but when will that bubble burst? If a resource like oil is hitting negative prices, what'll happen to the value of sneakers? An investment once worth thousands might now end up being barely burnable to keep you warm.
StockX prices have dropped an average of 4% across their top 500 most popular shoes. That's nothing compared to the Dow Jones (cratoring 30% from its February high). Yes, my sneakers will be keeping me warm at night – knowing I haven't lost a cent on any of them!
I just want sneakers to be about brands putting out good product that everybody can get, and nobody is trying to rip each other off. We need to band together now, more than ever. Let's stop caring about what Celebrity of the Week is wearing, or the millionth retro colourway that's dropping this Saturday. It's time to be happy with what we have and end this hype release bullshit.
The hype machine is essential. It never sleeps. Remember what happened right after the GFC in 2008? Supreme had a billion-dollar valuation. Human beings will always need validation from their peers through a capitalist lens. Why else do we flex? You think this is the end of zip-ties, stash pockets, and luxury fashion houses biting on skate and basketball culture? Think again. You think a global pandemic is going to profoundly change the psychology of young, cash-strapped hypebeasts? HELL. NAW. The hypemachine will NEVER DIE. Come on, admit defeat. Give daddy a hug...
Sorry buddy, i've erected a 1.5m radius 'NO HYPE ZONE' around me.