Hype Versus Genuine Appreciation

Hype Versus Genuine Appreciation - 6/22/2017
By: Yusra Shah

Just hearing the words Supreme and Anti Social Social Club (ASSC) immediately brings to fruition thoughts of eagerly awaiting a drop that will sell out in minutes, standing in line overnight for the chance to score highly coveted hoodies and when all else fails, as often times it does, scouring the web for genuine resellers. There is so much hype behind brands such as these. And people don't think twice about spending sometimes double the money on clothing they know is not worth half of the retail price. Why is that? It's not because people are madly in love with, let's say, the skate culture behind supreme, or the message behind ASSC and the populous it caters to. Realistically, it's because getting a hand on pieces from these brands is so difficult. The mere fact that everyone is trying to buy these clothes and nobody can, due to the small number of clothing produced, people fall into a pattern of wanting something just to tell other people "I've got it and you don't". By cornering the market and choking supply on the sellers end, demand goes up and it creates a kind of faux luxury brand. Much like Louis Vuitton (who ironically has just bought out Supreme) but in a more inexpensive way they have generated an oversaturated need for a label. Touche.

It’s not to say there aren't fans that genuinely appreciate clothes for more than just their labels, however, the majority of people will generally put labels before value. Take the Bape shark hoodie, a streetwear classic. Every die hard Bape fan dreams of owning one; it's almost like owning one puts you on a level above the rest, kind of like a rite of passage. However, even those that chase after shark hoodies don't always do so for the actual shark design or the visual aesthetic it gives off; they dream of owning one because they want to represent an image that the brand designed; they want to rep that very exclusivity rather than their own look. It's come to the point that people look for labels just to advertise them, rather than finding specific pieces from their favorite brands to create a personal, unique style.

I was one of those people. And in fact, I probably still am. I'd like to say that I have a unique sense of style that I’ve cultivated throughout the years and that I only use my favorite brands to maintain such a look, not to create it. However, I did fall into the ASSC trap. I always liked the way the clothes looked, with their simple, wavy lettering of "Anti Social Social Club". In fact, it’s so simple that there are thousands of fakes sold everywhere that look exactly the same as the originals; the real kicker is that the fakes are also the exact same quality. It's not as if ASSC used high end shirts or materials, most compare the quality to that of Gildan, and all of their designs are simply screen printed. If I was that in love with the design aspect of ASSC I could have easily bought a jacket for $30 on ebay and I could’ve been happy with it. I was after my $88 pink I'm Ready Coach Jacket for all the wrong reasons. It took my cousin falling in love with it without knowing anything about the brand to tip me off.

Now, keep in mind I placed my order on March 4th, 5 minutes after SS17 dropped and received my order on May 27th. I waited over two months for my coach jacket and the day I received said jacket in the mail was the same day I was hopping on a plane to visit family in Pakistan. As any normal person would do, I decided to take my jacket with me, telling myself "Oh, it might get cold on the plane or maybe it'll be chilly at night in Pakistan.". Pakistan, by the way, is usually around 90 degrees fahrenheit on any given day in the summer and absolutely not suitable for a coach jacket. Nevertheless, I was excited that my jacket finally arrived. I was excited to sport the bold letters that said Anti Social Social Club on both the front and the back in red, a nice contrast from the soft, pastel pink of the jacket.

The night I touched down in Karachi, Pakistan, I unpacked my carry-on bag in front of my cousin and out came my coach jacket. Immediately she was drawn to it. She was so excited by the fact that it said Anti Social Social Club on it, and at first I thought she understood the hype behind the brand; I was ecstatic. Finally, there wasps someone who I could rant to about waiting two months for an ASSC jacket, and someone I could talk to about all the outfits I had already planned in my head. But when I asked her her opinions on the brand, she gave me a confused look. She had no appreciation for the hype, let alone that it even existed. This was extremely confusing to me because if I saw a pink jacket that said anti social social club in blaring red letters on both the front and back without knowing where it came from, I would most definitely walk right past it. There is nothing special about the jacket at all, in fact it is kind of a walking advertisement.

Instead, she was obsessed with her perception of the phrase anti social social club, claiming that the jacket "literally described her" and that she wanted it immediately and would do anything for me if I gave it to her.

To be honest, this made me a little angry. I waited over two months for this jacket and payed $88 for the label because I knew about the hype behind the brand and I knew that it could be a staple piece to my wardrobe that could elevate my look to be something others could recognize. Obviously, I told her there was no way I could give her my jacket, mostly because I waited so long for it and because she didn't even know the brand from any angle. But none of this seemed to matter to her and she persisted for weeks, each time to the same "no" from me. I was not going to give her my jacket especially if she didn't appreciate how hard it was for me to acquire. But then I got to thinking.

She didn't even know about ASSC but liked the jacket so much because something about the vibe resonated with her, as basic and elementary as that might sound. She felt a weird sort of connection to the message she perceived the jacket was giving and wanted to wear it because she genuinely liked the look. I bought it and waited two months just to sport the jacket for a look that didn't even truly match mine. I bought it for the label, not for anything else.

So many people are only after clothes from these brands in order to portray themselves in a certain image. These people are basically just investing in the brand because of the label and the hype instead of genuinely caring about how the pieces look. What they appreciate about the brand and what actually goes with their personal look is of no importance, and that's exactly what I was doing. I despised that.

In my opinion, no matter how hyped an article of clothing is, at the end of the day, it should not define your outfit. It should add to your outfit and showcase your own brand instead of making you a walking advertisement for something you don't understand or believe in. And maybe because of this, or maybe because she nagged me about it so much, I decided to give my cousin my ASSC jacket. She still doesn't know anything about the brand and doesn't seem to care about the fact that the jacket is now sold out and that I waited two months for it, but she genuinely loves it despite all of that. And as annoyed as I was in the beginning, the fact that she likes the jacket without knowing anything about ASSC shows that the label doesn't even matter. That is something so rare today.

In a world and industry dominated by labels, it's refreshing to see someone want something because of a connection and feeling as opposed to wearing it just to show others they have something others don't. Lots of people who are into streetwear think these kind of people don't truly appreciate the clothes, but in a way people like my cousin see the clothes for what they really are rather than the image of themselves they are trying to create, and I believe that to be something very, very respectable.