Started outof the need for straightforward sneaker news, HYPEBEAST has grown into one of the most influential media in cult, fashion, culture and pop icons. Kevin Ma started it as a blog, in 2005, from his student bedroom in Vancouver where he studied at the University of British Columbia. As a sneakerhead, Ma was always searching for news on his favorite topic but just couldn’t find the right sources. Starting a blog yourself seemed by far the best solution.
Ma ironically called his blog HYPEBEAST, a derogatory term for someone who gets caught up in a product’s hype in lieu of being a true fan. (Urban Dictionary: Hypebeast – Sneakerheads who only rock hyped up shit to get props b/c they got no self worth or sense of style, and: 50% of NikeTalk members.)
In the 12 years that HYPEBEAST now exists things have changed quite a bit, just as the Internet has. The site now is a community with several media attached. On Facebook there are more than 3.2 million friends, on Instagram 3.5 million. There is a HYPEBEAST fashion shop, HBX, and there are several spin offs on the Internet. Popbee, a women’s fashion and beauty site targeting Asian countries, and in 2010 it rolled out Hypetrak, its music destination. Sneaker cult overlaps with the rap and hip-hop community, obviously.
In 2012 a new medium was added to the sneaker empire. The publication of the first issue of HYPEBEAST Magazine, the printed version, was a new and unexpected leap. Its cover, displays a grayscale side profile of Kris Van Assche, the artistic director of Dior Homme, and seemed a bit more sophisticated than the streetwise style of the blog. Since then 17 issues have been published, all with theme. “HYPEBEAST represents whatever we feel looks cool, feels cool, and is interesting in the world,” he says, referencing his editorial team, adding, “And we try our best to push forward the ideas that we really believe in.”
In some 15 years the bedroom blog has developed into a media and business imperium, with even an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Hong Kongs position, on the edge of China is essential in this, which makes opportunities for brand collaborations happen organically and worldwide. Ma is aware that being based in any individual city isn’t enough to capture trends developing across the entire globe, and that is why HYPEBEAST works with in-the-know contributors scattered just about everywhere. “We want a global pulse on what’s happening in the world, and you can’t do that from one location.”
Bruil.info is delighted to present the printed HYPEBEAST to a new western audience of cult and fashion lovers. Picture – HYPEBEAST 17 – The Connection Issue – featuring soccer icon Paul Pogba.