- Hypefest, the inaugural streetwear festival from Hong Kong media giant Hypebeast, rocked Brooklyn with all new retail experiences
- Custom Lacoste polos? Check. Personalized prints from the most in-demand artists? Limited-run Nike sneaker drops drawing lines around the corner? Check and check.
- It was a scene for the coolest in fashion and lifestyle, but the lessons remained: engaging with your customers IRL is the best way to a lasting brand experience
“What could possibly be more fun than this?”
That’s what one Hypefest goer, who would soon board a promotional yacht docked at the edge of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, said to GQ at this month’s fashion and streetwear festival.
It was a fitting question.
Indeed, it was a scene to be remembered in New York City. Hypefest, the first-ever celebration of commerce by the Hong Kong media giant Hypebeast, was on in full effect.
Giant teddy bears. Lamborghinis covered in (fake) $100 bills ...
And Shopify was there, powering commerce for the entire event.
It was a place where only the hippest need arrive. The kind of venue where Gucci Mane and Travis Scott could mingle alongside Jonah Hill (below) and Jaden Smith. It was, Vox made note, a venue where “even the toddlers are cool and rich.”
But it was also more than that …
A master class in online-to-offline (O2O) examples, brand activations, and technology plays the most innovative marketers are using to engage demographics that can be called both fans and consumers at the same time.
Here are the highlights of Hypefest — three of the best and biggest brands, and how they stood out at an event where the ability to make a splash is the baseline for even attending in the first place.
Lacoste x Chinatown Market
Hypefest was all about the old and the new.
There were venerable, established brands. There were nascent, fledgling brands.
But often the two seemed to mix at the festival; older brands complementing newer ones by giving them mainstream approval, and newer brands complementing older ones by giving them credit on the street.
Take, for instance, the Lacoste polo.
A clean, classic shirt to some. A pristine canvas ready to be tagged for others.
At Hypefest, Lacoste paired with fashion and home decor outfit Chinatown Market for a customization experience on the iconic shirt.
Armed with designs made exclusively for Hypefest, Chinatown Market’s artists used airbrushes and print guns to personalize a stack of crisply folded white long- and short-sleeved polos.
The results had line-ups around the bend.
Alyx x Nike
If you noticed a bump in sneaker site postings in the days after Hypefest, there was reason for the spike.
Nike partnered with designer Matthew Williams’ Alyx for a re-imagining of the Air Force One, a custom design with a special brand insignia near the heel and a statement buckle across the laces.
The catch: only ten pairs were ever produced.
What this meant was an opportunity. Alyx decided to raffle off the sneakers, but only to those who purchased a Nike x Alyx hoodie through the Shopify POS at its booth.
Lines snaked on throughout the festival for a chance to buy and, in that, an O2O marketing opportunity.
At every sale, contact info was collected for every customer who entered the raffle. The effect was three-fold:
- Significant buzz at Hypefest, where buzz was operating currency
- Boosts in email customers, who entered Alyx’s sales funnel
- Waves of positive press online following the festival, sneakerheads clamoring for one of Alyx’s exclusive Nikes to make their way onto resale sites … no matter the cost
Sans Titre x Frenzy
Frenzy, Shopify’s app for flash selling, was a quiet star of Hypefest, hosting several product drops at the festival by brands like Places+Faces, John Elliott, and Billionaire Boys Club.
The streetwear artist Joshua Vides also designed campaign posters for some of the items being sold through Frenzy, one of each of the hand-drawn works hung for display in Shopify’s Hypefest lounge.
But Frenzy was, of course, most impressive when it was put to work.
Sans Titre — the artist collective whose prints sell for hundreds, sometimes thousands, online — sold a limited artwork run at Hypefest through Frenzy.
Customers clamored for the prints, because through Frenzy buyers were able to drop by the Sans Titre booth to have it signed and personalized by the artists, Futura and Andre, themselves.
‘Between Punchline and Viral’: More Than O2O Marketing Hype
Hypefest was not for all, nor was the inaugural festival for many.
It was for only those at the forefront, only the most on-trend, only the most willing to risk failure for greatness.
“Everything I saw,” observed GQ’s Cam Wolf, “hovered indeterminately between punchline and potentially viral.” Such are the stakes for making a splash in the modern streetwear scene.
But the principles of Hypefest could be stretched out and made to fit any O2O retail industry — through brand activation and online-to-offline transitions, the experience is what matters above all.
Whatever you sell, sell it right.