People like to be informed about luxury brands, whether or not they can afford them.
Huan Nguyen, vice president of brand partnerships at Hypebeast, said traffic and engagement at the streetwear-focused site grew considerably between 2015 and 2018 in content that mentioned brands like Dior, Gucci and Louis Vuitton — all of which have had some kind of major crossover with streetwear in recent years. The site increased such posts to nearly 400 from 100, saw average page views per item increase to 15,000 from 12,000 and average engagement time double to two minutes from one.
As far as Nguyen is concerned, this is as good a sign as any of “how streetwear and luxury have been best friends for quite some time,” as he put it. He used a gif from “Lady and the Tramp” of the characters smooching over pasta to drive the point home.
“The idea is that this audience isn’t necessarily the guy you see on the corner rocking head-to-toe Supreme,” Nguyen added. “Sometimes they’re just in front of their computer doing their thing, but they know a ton about the brands out there.”
There may not be a direct link between Hypebeast traffic and a brand’s sales, but it certainly gets into the murky territory of “brand awareness,” the first step to getting a new customer.
While the streetwear craze has been building for years, luxury fashion has been slowly folding it into its own realm, with one-off collections and more recently tapping designers like Virgil Abloh and Demna Gvasalia for creative roles at major houses. Beyond the branding and the efforts to stay relevant, Nguyen sees this street-luxury market as something that’s bringing regional markets closer together.
“I believe that knowledge is the cultural currency,” Nguyen said. “That the more you know, the cooler you are. It’s very simple.”