Inside The Hype Economy

by MR Magazine Staff

By 3pm on June 29th, a raucous crowd of 150 young people had gathered at the corner of Surrey Street and the Strand in central London. Though few would have guessed it from their heavy-for-the-weather streetwear – down jackets, tracksuits, layered T-shirts, baseball caps and beanies – they were the cognoscenti. Although it was a full 17 hours before the official announcement, they knew that the shuttered shop front on this unremarkable block, situated between Somerset House and the Royal Courts of Justice, was where it was going to happen. To most passers-by, it – the release of a collection of clothing made by two fashion brands working in collaboration – would have meant nothing. Yet to this excited cluster, the hundreds who would join them the following day, plus the thousands more who would line the streets (many having slept on them overnight) at similar pop-up launches in Tokyo, Paris, Los Angeles, Beijing, Sydney, Seoul and Miami, this event meant a great deal indeed. For they were about to witness the result of a union between the world’s most famous luxury brand, 163-year-old Louis Vuitton, and the world’s most famous streetwear brand, 23-year-old Supreme. “This is pretty much uncharted territory,” said Martin Ologunja, 19 years old, from Hackney. “As a Supreme head, I was never expecting it to get into the high-fashion side. And I’ve got the utmost respect for LV.” Richard Blackman, also 19, added that he had come because of a rumour on Instagram. He said: “I’m here for the culture of hype products. Supreme is a really nice fashion brand – a street brand – that most of us kids wear.” Were they hoping to flip (resell, in street parlance)? “Absolutely!” said Alex Tarrant, 18: “I think the profits could be in the thousands.” Ologunja said, “One person said to me that resellers are the new drug dealers, but I don’t think so. I think resellers are the new art dealers.” Read more at The Economist.