Hype: A Mathematical Equation

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Whether or not you admit it, you're a Hypebeast. The very fact that you're reading Four Pins right now to get a handle on the world of menswear means you value our opinion. And based on what? Because our big brother Complex is worth $250 mil according to Forbes? Because we use Internet-savvy language like "bruh" and "swag" and "fuck"? Because you saw both #menswear Illuminati folk like Sean Hotchkiss and OG's like Glenn O'Brien tweeting at us? If so, you've bought into our hype big time. And that's even before you started buying hyped-up gear based on our recommendations. In fact, hype is a big reason why we even know about the brands we write about. With that said, now that you're here, I think we do have some things to say about this admittedly hype-based universe, so don't leave.

I'm not saying hype is necessarily a good or bad thing, but it is perhaps the most powerful tool a brand in 2013 can use to move merchandise. In fact, no brand in 2013 can be successful without some amount of hype to prop them up. It's a simple result of the world we live in, where most of our interactions happen virtually. With each passing day we are less likely to make our choices as consumers based on what we think looks good on a rack in a store, and more likely to choose based on how often, and in what context, we see said items on a computer screen. Again, not good or bad, just how it is.

If you don't wanna get burned by the hype, would like to brew some of your own or are straight up confused by everything above, your first step should be understanding how this shit works. I've crafted what I think is a near-perfect formula for hype creation: Hype = Notoriety x (Mystery + Exclusivity)—a simple three part formula (if you're at all familiar with the order of operations) I feel sums up the tricks of the trade. Check out what I mean above, but make sure you don't believe anything I say. I'm all hype, bruh.

Jake Woolf is a writer living in New York City. You can read his blog here and follow him on Twitter here.


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