We’ve seen them walk around in packs all over our social media feeds. Viral post after viral post, the hypebeasts have come. And they came dressed.
For those who aren’t clear on what hypebeast is, it’s basically a style of streetwear. Originating from America, the style evolved from early 90s street attire to the style we see today. The current aesthetic is greatly influenced by internet culture, with the perhaps iconic red Supreme logo being at the front of our minds when we think of popular streetwear brands. To be honest, for a while I didn’t realize that the “Supreme” everyone was talking about wasn’t Lucky Me Supreme Pancit Canton. I’m usually not updated when it comes to new trends, I don’t have friends who are really into these types of things. But after a while, the fame—or hype—got noticeable that even I trapped under my comfortable rock took notice.
What started as an online trend or fashion statement has become a counterculture of sorts; and local hypebeasts have taken the trend and wholly adapted it to suit their own aesthetic. It came as a shock to me when I found out how expensive much of these streetwear merchandise really are. A plain shirt with a basic red logo stamped on front doesn’t seem worth thousands of pesos to me, nor do I think that they’re particularly nice. But it’s not my life, hypebeasts can spend their money however they want and dress how they want. They don’t need my opinion to justify their choices.
Local hypebeasts can be seen dressing similarly to their western counterparts but many opt for the more cost-effective solution of buying their clothes from a tiangge or thrift shops. The song Hayaan Mo Sila by Ex Battalion is practically synonymous to the local hypebeast phenomenon, videos all over the internet show many of these groups performing their own rendition of the song. Perhaps what really brought attention to hypebeasts was the viral video of a group of children singing the Ex Battalion song in a cellphone shop. While the employees did join along the fun, many online started bashing the kids and called them a lot of derogatory names such as “jologs” or “cancer”. Many mock them for copping the hypebeast look but not paying the outrageous price tag. Seemingly mocking them for being unable to afford the real thing, does being poor deserve to be shamed like this? Are hypebeasts really scum like many online say they are?
Personally, I don’t think they deserve the hate that they’re getting. Most of these hypebeasts are teenagers just trying to get respect and admiration by dressing in a way that appeals to them. In a recent feature by Jessica Soho, she interviewed the group from the viral video. They call themselves the Savage x Jellyjuice crew; one of the members described why they dressed the way they did. He said that it was their way of getting respect because according to him if they looked poor, no one would hang out with them.
While it is true that many of these hypebeasts cause a commotion by performing a rendition of Hayaan Mo Sila in public places, it doesn’t mean that those of us who don’t understand their reasons for behaving that way can look down on them as if they are somehow less. They are minors, and many of their biggest naysayers are adults. Bullies put down others to make themselves feel good. What does it say about these “adults” that they’re bullying minors online even when they haven’t harmed anyone? Mocking others for not aligning themselves to our preferences is close-minded and tacky. We call them baduy because they don’t dress like we do. Aren’t we the ones who are baduy for bullying those who weren’t born with the privileges we were. When they’re just having fun and making each other happy, that does not give us the right to label them as beneath us because we don’t agree with their form of self-expression.
Let them dress how they want. If they aren’t harming anyone, and they aren’t causing a public disturbance—hayaan mo na sila.