Don’t believe the hype: Some brands are just more valuable the second time around.
If StockX’s website looks like the NASDAQ index, it isn’t a coincidence. Claiming to be the stock market of things and assigning resell value to popular items from brands such as Louis Vuitton, Michael Jordan, Nike, and Rolex; StockX has built its own brand as a live bid/ask marketplace where buyers place bids and sellers place asks. When the bid and the ask match up, the transaction happens automatically.
Looking for a pair of retro Jordans, Nikes or Yeezys? You’ll find them here, usually in mint condition and 100% guaranteed authentic by StockX experts who are trained to spot a knockoff from a mile away.
I was first introduced to StockX over sushi with my two teenage sons when our inquisitive waiter noticed a StockX sticker on the back of my older son’s iPhone case. “Do you buy Supreme?” he asked. “No,” he replied, “It’s too expensive for me.” I was intrigued by this entire exchange and just had to ask, “What is Supreme?”
“It’s a brand of clothing,” my son informed me.
“What kind of clothing?”
“Like the kind that sneakerheads and hypebeasts are into.”
I had heard the word sneakerhead before because my son is a self-proclaimed one, but I had no clue what a hype beast could possibly be, so I turned to the only reliable source at my disposal — Urban Dictionary.
According to Urban Dictionary, a sneakerhead is “one who is in love with but not limited to Jordans, Forces, Dunks, Maxes, etc.”
Similarly, a “hype beast” is a kid who is obsessed (a.k.a. A beast) over a certain fashion trend. He or she may collect sneakers, watches, or a particular clothing brand (like the aforementioned Supreme). There is even a website named Hypebeast that features the best in street culture and publishes the latest releases in the streetwear fashion world.
This is addiction in it’s purest and most serious form. A diehard hypebeast is willing to camp out in sub-zero degree weather for the newest pair of his or her favorite brand of sneaker in a limited edition style or the latest release of a limited edition T-shirt with the Supreme logo — but not necessarily because they want it for themselves — they want it for the resell value.
And while it is no secret that rare fashion finds in pristine condition increase in value over time, the one brand that has really played up this hype is Supreme. Being a brand manager, I was curious about Supreme and why it was so expensive. What made this particular brand of streetwear so much more valuable than other brands?
If you’re out of the loop like me and you don’t know what Supreme is yet, let me enlighten you. Supreme is a streetwear brand that has collaborated with some of the most well-known fashion brands on the planet, from high-end brands like Louis Vuitton to more affordable brands such as North Face, Nike, and Vans. But Supreme didn’t always have this much presence. At its inception, the majority of its customers were young adults in the skateboarding community, and the initial price range was affordable for them. What differentiates Supreme from other streetwear brands is that they only produce a limited quantity of each product, so the demand drives the prices through the roof.
The resell market has turned Supreme into a kind of subculture within the hype beast community that other brands have been quick to imitate. It is worth noting that collaborations (or “collabs”) between brands are nothing new. Target does it all the time. But the unique thing about Supreme is that their customers don’t really care what they buy as long as the resell value increases. They will wait in line or “queue up” as the hypebeast community refers to it, so they can get their hands on limited edition designs the second they drop, and then turn around and resell them immediately to those who aren’t willing to wait in line, but can and will pay ANY price for the merchandise. The upward spiral is created when the second person resells the merchandise for an even higher sometimes, completely ridiculous price. For example:
- A Supreme Limited Edition anniversary t-shirt just went up for bid on StockX for $1500.00 As I write this, the high bid is already up to $1060.00.
- A “Keepall” bag from Louis Vuitton’s collaborative collection with Supreme sold for over $16,000 at a Paris auction.
Maybe I just don’t get it. I think I am with Macklemore (see, I am a little hip) on this one. As he sings in Thrift Shop:
“I’m like, ‘Yo, that’s 50 dollars for a t-shirt.’
Limited edition, let’s do some simple addition
50 dollars for a t-shirt, that’s just some ignorant BS.”
Apparently, no one in the hypebeast community balks at spending $50 for a t-shirt when they know they will be able to resell it at a 3000% return rate. At that point, it’s no longer just about fashion, it’s an investment. And brands like StockX and Supreme will continue to build on the hype.