HB We Out Dis – Rise/Decline of the Hypebeast Forums

With the announcement that HB’s forum will be closing, I thought it’d be appropriate to give a quick history lesson on Hypebeast’s forum. Hypebeast itself was founded back in 2005 by Kevin Ma. It originally began as a Blogspot page, the precursor to Google’s Blogger. The earliest version of HB was very much a product of the early 2000s. Looking very bare boned. Though later on in the year the site was given more of a personality.

hb dead

hb 2005 1st page

It appears the Hypebeast forums were open some time in April. The site had a very simple mid 2000’s feel. The forum had a few sections. Nike was the top section of the forum, probably due to the SB line. As the SB line was producing various sought after shoes around this time. HB itself was originally founded on sneaker culture.  Note that the earliest version of the forum was run on phpBB. Membership was more than 200 at this time.

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By 2006 Hypebeast was looking more like a website. Likewise the Forum had greatly expanded.

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The forum also went through more changes. By 2006 the forum was being run with vBulletin, it remained this way for most of the forum’s history. Membership was more than 2,000.

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2006 was a particulary important year because Nick Tershay (Diamond Supply Co) and Bobby Kim (The Hundreds) began posting on the forum. Both men contributed to the HB community and posted regulary. They are also important in that they did various event and parties on Fairfax. They built dedicated fan bases on the forum, which lasted for years.

Post: do u guys think bape is dead?

nick t

Post: What makes a clothing line great.

bobby hundreds

2007 saw the rise of official clothing threads, fit battle threads and people repping Karmaloop. The fit battle threads were basically a sort of proving ground and learning experience. Essentially people, usually 2 or more, would post fit pics. Members would voice whose fit was better, though often times people were critical of the fits. This would lead to heated arguments and at times lead to trolling. Though for the most part fit threads were very popular, because the comments were hilarious or had lots of truth in them or were educational in helping people define their own clothing style. It was also around this time that people began to rep Karmaloop. Karmaloop was often known for having great deals on their clothing. At a time there was a program wherein people could rep Karmaloop, this typically meant people would have a karmaloop code in their signature. The more that people used their code, the more free gear they earned. This is probably a reason why the forum was so popular, before social media became an aspect of society. The top clothing threads were LRG, Triumvir, Supreme, Orisue, Diamond Supply Co, The Hundreds and Mishka. There were more than 100 brands with their own threads and membership was more than 20,000 strong.

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2008 was a turning point as the recession was taking effect. Causing a change in the streetwear landscape. Hypebeast opened their online store around this time, to great success. The forum was renamed Hypecrew and given it’s own unique website. HB tried to push the Hypecrew idea, however it didn’t stick. As a result the Hypecrew concept lasted less than a year. It was then, very briefly, moved to my.hypebeast.com. As a result, when the forum was moved back to Hypebeast.com/forum, some threads were not transferred over. Raised by Wolves started their brand via the HB forum, though successive threads were created by fans. Black Scale also created it’s own forum, though it was not transferred over from the previous website. Michael Yabut (Mega) frequented the forums in the early years of his brand. WDYWT threads became extremely popular around this time, as many people liked to flex their fits to other people on the forums. The top known threads were Estate LA, Flying Coffin, In4mation, Supreme, Benny Gold, Uniqlo, and US vs Them. Overall there were about 200 new brand threads in 2008. There were more than 30,000 members around this time.

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In 2009 HB began to grow their social media presence. The top threads were Black Scale, Diamond Supply Co, Triumvir, Huf, Supreme, The Hundreds, 5th Column among other brands. There were almost 200 new brand threads. Membership grew to more than 40,000. There would typically be 100s of people online at any given time, though at times active users would be in the 1,000s.

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In 2010 HB expanded again. Creating Hype Tv, HB would basically do video interviews with prominent people in the streetwear community, stores, and rappers. Hypetrak was a music news offshoot of HB. It started back in 2008, though HB was giving it a bigger push at this time. HB’s forum received another major overhaul in appearance. The most popular brand threads on the forum were Mister SF, Diamond Supply Co, 5th Column, Triumvir, Visvim, Black Scale, Supreme, and The Hundreds. There was nearly 200 new brand threads. Membership was nearly 50,000 strong.

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In 2011 Hypebeast was given a major change in appearance. The top brand threads on the forum were Diamond Supply Co, Black Scale, Mister SF, Supreme, Triumvir, and 5th Column. There were about 200 new brand threads. Membership reached more than 70,000.  From this point on there are no more public stats on the HB forum.

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2012 marked another major shift in Streetwear. There was an explosion of new brands debuting, all pushing to be the next major brand. HB itself was expanding it’s news endeavors, as they published more and more non streetwear related content. The forums remained highly active, especially the Supreme forum, as many newcomers to streetwear clung to this brand. Though a new era of streetwear was begining, in part because of Triumvir’s legacy. Effulgence and Ronin debuted on the HB forum around this time. The top brand threads were without a doubt Supreme, Diamond supply Co, and Black Scale. There were 400 new brand threads at this time.

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By 2013 Hypebeast was effectively a major multimedia entity. It had sizable followings on various social media sites by this point in their history. It was also during this time the decline of the Hypebeast forum was becoming somewhat evident. New wave Streetwear brands Hidden Characters and The Heated Environment ( aka T.H.E) debuted on the HB Forums. The top brand threads were Supreme, Black Scale, and Diamond Supply Co. There were more than 300 new brand threads at this time.

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In 2014 the HB forum had went through another change. Some of the indie brands were becoming more popular than the more senior brands on the forum, such as Black Scale. Much of the bigger brands had long since abandoned the HB forums, for various reasons. The biggest probably being that social media has become a more integral component to their success. Some of the popular smaller brands were T.H.E, Hidden Characters, Ronin and Effulgence. The top brand threads were Supreme, Diamond Supply Co, and Hidden Characters. There were about 280 new brand threads at this time.hb 2014

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2015 marked the 10 year anniversary for Hypebeast and the HB forums. HB did various collabs which were very sought after and hard to obtain. The increasing decline of the forums became more evident as many sections of the forum were sparsely active. Though the Off Topic, WDYWT, and Brand sections remained fairly active, due in part to the new wave of Streetwear brands. PhntmSrc debuted this year. The top brand threads were Supreme, Diamond Supply Co, and Hidden Characters. There were roughly 160  new brand thread.

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In 2016 the HB Forum went through it’s last major revision. The home page of the forum had been discarded. Instead people would view the most popular threads at that exact moment. Though it was obvious by this point that the most popular threads were the Off Topic, WDYWT, and Brand sections. The top brand threads were Supreme, Hidden Characters, and Effulgence. There were barely 100 new brand threads in 2016.

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It was recently announced that the HB Forums would be frozen on August 31, 2017. Meaning people will no longer be able to post on the forums. The top brand thread will likely be Hidden Characters, followed by Supreme. A very significant turn around, as Supreme is the last senior brand that has been on the forum since 2006. There are less than 60 new brand threads.

I know what you’re thinking, “So was that it? Was Hypebeast just a place populated by assholes and overpriced clothing brands?” No random person it was not. There’s a lot to be said about HB, especially it’s forums. But I can’t really get into all that. A lot of it was about clothing, but most of all it was a community. The forum was a place people could go to in order to talk with other people that had similar interests. Most people on the forum did/do love clothing. However there were also debates and discussions on other things, that typically happened in the Off Topic section. Whether it was about having sex, or advice on depression, people would be consistently active on there, at times seeking a reprieve from the seriousness of life, while other people sought to create their own brand or simply talk about their day. There were indeed assholes on the forum, people were punked, flamed, and sometimes had melt downs. Though at the end of the day the trolls left, and you realized that there people whom you could call your friend. In some cases irl meetups happened.

The HB forum helped various brands become successful. As HB used to be the premiere place to find the dopest brands and the freshest kicks. Many major brands built dedicated communities on the HB Forums. However the forum was the victim of social media. In a world where everyone is connected through their phones, by which all their social media accounts are linked. The HB Forums simply became an ancillary aspect of people lives. Most social media platforms allow you to form your group, which are basically less structured forums Hypebeast evolved with the times, expanding into other forms of news and media. However the forum was basically unable to evolve. As HB changed many people began to leave as it no longer reflected who their were. Most people who leave the forum are into more mature styles of clothing, however much of the Streetwear industry caters to a younger audience. Though theres newer brands that are definitely more mature in their style, many of them are on social media already.

It’s sad to see the HB Forums go the way of VHS tapes. It’s something everyone used to use, but it’s simply no longer an integral aspect to a brand’s success. My only regret is that I wish I had contributed more to the community. I hate to see it go, anyways thank you all for the memories.



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