How Forums Paved The Way For Streetwear

by MR Magazine Staff

Somewhere between the intersection of word-of-mouth, face-to-face interactions and instant social media gratification existed forums — the now extinct mode of communication for streetwear enthusiasts. The perfect vehicle for communication and community building peaked in the early 2000’s as the internet was still free from the grasps of Facebook, Reddit, Instagram and Snapchat. Even the etymology of Hypebeast was birthed in forums, as the term was first used on NikeTalk before becoming the platform we know now. Of the multiple forums that were available in the 2000’s — ISS/Sole Collector, BapeTalk, BapeTalk2, Kicksxchange, Strictly Supreme, Female Sneaker Fiend, Vintage Gear Addicts, N-SB and our very own Hypebeast — NikeTalk was without a doubt the biggest and most influential. Having been around since 1999, NT as it was known, is one of the few that are still active. Still, each forum had a very important and unique contribution to the rise and relevancy of streetwear. Sole Collector is a shell of its former self and has undergone a redesign; while BapeTalk, VGA, NSB and FSF are rarely used anymore and BT2, Kicksxchange, Strictly Supreme and Hypebeast Forums no longer exist. As many of the names suggest, NikeTalk specialized in Nike sneakers and products, BapeTalk and BapeTalk2 specialized in BAPE goods, Strictly Supreme in Supreme products and Vintage Gear Addicts in old vintage collectibles. ISS/Solecollector was one of the most well-rounded forums, Kickxchange was one of the most influential European forums, N-SB helped push Nike SBs, Female Sneaker Fiend got females together and gave them a voice in a male-dominated culture, and Hypebeast birthed ruthless commentators and internet trolls. However, the names don’t tell the other part of the story — that all of these forums created a sense of community and knowledge. The exchanges between people led to many getting jobs at leading industry brands or starting their own brands, shops, and businesses which in turn birthed resellers with the help of technological advancements. Any way you cut it, forums were the driving forces and inspiration behind the culture. Read more at Hypebeast.