Even if the shoe fits, sell it

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“It’s crazy to see the hype around a specific shoe or brand nowadays,” Ethan Irushalmi (10) said. “Every brand has their own app, and to get their shoes you have to reserve them on the app, go to their stores and wait on line, or just know people.”

Recently, brands have gained great influence over the younger generations, especially through the promotion of their products by influencers, and have now been able to sell out “rare” sneakers for ridiculous prices within seconds, Spencer Rosenberg (9) said.

“I think it’s interesting that a pair of shoes released for $160 can be resold for over $1,000 just because of the influence that its name has,” Rosenberg said.

Rare sneakers have their pros and cons, Armaan Kakodkar (10) said. “If it’s rare, and no one else has it, it’s more special to you. You managed to acquire something not many people had,” he said.

“In regard to resell culture, I find that it’s just that: a culture,” Rohan Bhatia (11) said. “It’s common denominator among our society. We all wear shoes, every day, and people that wanted to profit off of our need for shoes did so by creating the resell culture.” Bhatia also thinks some shoes are associated with a social class, and that some people think that owning these shoes elevates them into a new tier in society, he said.

Giacomo Maroni (9) used to be more interested in these so-called “rare sneakers,” but since then he has realized that there isn’t really a point to them, he said. “Instead of wearing an expensive pair of rare shoes, I could just find a comfortable pair for half the price,” he said.

Elyse Gay (10) loves these rare sneakers and thinks they are completely worth their price, she said. “I think that the idea comes from the craftsmanship,” she said. “Also, a lot of rare sneakers, like 1985 Air Jordan 1s, which are the first Air Jordans ever made, are valued for their history.”

However, Kakodkar said that it’s a little ridiculous how much specific items will inflate by. “Obviously, the price is a huge con; what’s rare will be really expensive,” he said. “However, if you’re the one reselling them, then it is possible to make a big profit.”

Irushalmi himself resells shoes with a high market value, he said. “Most of the time, I just get my shoes to wear, but if I can get multiple pairs of the same one, I’ll sell the extras,” Irushalmi said.

“A shoe can make an outfit; there are definitely shoes, whether it be sneakers or another type, that can make an outfit pop,” Gay said. “There are also definitely certain shoes that just don’t go with a certain outfit and its color or pattern.”

“I dress relatively simply, but I always try to wear nice shoes,” Kakodkar said. Although he wears a standard pair to school most days, once or twice a week he might alternate, he said.

Ultimately, Gay prioritizes comfort. “I mostly wear sneakers to school, and I’ve never had shoes that were uncomfortable in any way,” she said.

“I wear Adidas most days because I think they’re an easy, comfortable, everyday shoe,” Irushalmi said. Though he sometimes switches it up, he typically wears the same pair to school.

Bhatia simply looks for  comfortable shoes to get him through the day. “I feel like everyone has a few pairs that they wear to formal events, or even a pair that they never wear. I have this one pair of customized Air Force 1s that I got when I was 11 and can’t fit, but still keep,” he said.

Gay doesn’t really have a standard shoe that she wears everyday, she said. “I have around 20 pairs of shoes. I mostly wear sneakers, but the type of sneaker usually changes everyday or every other day.”

For Rosenberg, style and comfort are of equal importance. “While it is important to be able to show and express your style, it is also important to be comfortable throughout the school day,” Rosenberg said.

Bracelets, rings, necklaces, and more adorn students every day and define their school style.

Students have varying definitions of what an accessory can be. “An accessory is a little thing that elevates your outfit and allows you to have more confidence in yourself,” Mekhala Mantravadi (9) said.

“Accessories make it obvious to you that this person is consciously trying to portray an image of themselves that represents who they perceive themselves to be,” Leonora Gogos (11) said.

Gogos believes that a great outfit is not complete without accessories. “I think they’re the best way to express yourself even when you dress casually, as you would at school or work.”

“I like to accessorize because it’s fun and vintage, and second-hand shopping can make accessorizing unique,” Office of Identity, Culture, and Institutional Equity Associate Candice Powell-Caldwell said.

However, finding a price limit while shopping can be difficult. “I want to be smart while shopping and not overspend, but there is no necessary negative to accessorizing,” Powell-Caldwell said.

Some students, such as Teddy Ganea (9), believe that accessories should always have a practical use. “I wear my glasses for a practical application, not for style,” he said.

Others wear jewelry not only to express their personal style but also for sentimental value. “Most of the jewelry I wear I keep on every day and don’t take off, especially because they were passed down to me,” Eden Plepler (10) said.

“Over time, I developed a special tie to each of my accessories. Some, for instance, have been passed down for generations. Other pieces, however, remind me of my friends, family, and experiences,” Nina Mussa (10) said.

Gogos wears three specific rings at all times that were passed down to her by her family, she said. “My grandma gave them to my mom when she graduated from medical school. When I visited my grandma in Greece this past summer, I showed her I was wearing them and she burst into tears,” Gogos said.

Many students believe that the sentimental value of their accessories is what makes them priceless. “The price is not equivalent to the accessory’s actual value. The value actually relies on whatever that accessory means to you,” Mussa said.

However, not all students feel an emotional connection to their jewelry. “My necklace says my name on it, so it is meaningful to me, but my bracelets are just gifts,” Joelle Maddan (9) said.

“I know there is a lot of sentimental value attached to the necklace my mom wore when she got married, but none of my accessories hold a lot of sentimental value,” Ganea said.

Students also wear accessories that represent their religious beliefs. Gogos always wears a necklace with a cross on it, she said. Kyle Gaillard (12) wears a religious chain with the head of Jesus, he said.

Regardless of the reason, students often vary their accessories based on the occasion. “My style does not change, but the amount of jewelry I wear changes when I go out,” Plepler said.

Gogos often wears ten necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings, so she does not put on much more jewelry when she goes out, she said. “Earlier this year, I would wear around ten necklaces at once at all times.”

Most students believe that jewelry does not disrupt learning in any way. “No one is going to stop paying attention just because something is shiny,” Maddan said.

“Unless a piece of jewelry is really heavy and physically burdening the person wearing it, I don’t think jewelry disrupts the learning environment,” Ganea said.

Adam Bellaiche (9) believes that accessorizing can be negative if it is inappropriate, not the right occasion, or just unnecessary, he said.

“Jewelry can be distracting if a person wears too much because they are getting too much attention. It also depends if a person is easily distracted by certain items,” Gaillard said.

“On a superficial level, accessories enhance my outfit, but on a more personal level, the majority of my accessories provide me with a mechanism to differentiate myself from others,” Mussa said.

Walking in the school’s hallways, one may venture through a crowd of colorful book bags. Most people wear traditional or common backpacks around the school all throughout the year. It is a tradition at the school for seniors in the last semester to carry absurd backpacks, ranging from a Hello Kitty bag to a garbage bag.

Richard He (12), who believes that the functionality of the bag is the most important, chose not to have a senior backpack because it was impractical for him, he said. A senior backpack was simply not practical enough as he carries around many items every day.

Robbie Werdiger (11) also believes that practicality is important as he carries a lot of materials, he said. “I had pain in bottom of my lower back, and I switched to a rollie bag to see if it would relieve pain, which it did.”

However, for many seniors, the backpacks are a way to express themselves, regardless of practicality.

Jackson Stinebaugh (12) carries around a golf bag as his senior backpack, and he believes that “senior backpacks are a mood lightener when the stress is going away,” he said.

For Stinebaugh, the decision to carry a golf bag was simple: he plays a lot of golf, and his sister had an old golf bag she wasn’t using anymore.

Although Stinebaugh used an old golf bag, many other seniors purchase a new backpack for the tradition. For Nader Granmayeh (12), purchasing a new briefcase for his senior backpack was an easy decision, he said. “It’s the type of personality I am, and I thought it would be funny.”

Granmayeh loves carrying his briefcase. “It’s convenient and it’s lighter. People should definitely do a [senior backpack]. It’s a lot of fun. It’s very special,”Granmayeh said.

On the contrary, He “didn’t want to buy a backpack that he would use for two months,” as it didn’t sound like a financially sound decision, he said. However, He is not bothered by the other seniors following the tradition of senior backpacks.

During the old trimester system, seniors bought senior backpacks for the third trimester, but with the new semester system, some buy the backpacks at the start of second semester.

However, Stinebaugh believes the semester system doesn’t change anything, as he “started wearing his backpack in what would have been the third trimester anyway,” he said.

Arya Patel (10) changes her backpack every two years to fit her needs and the current trend, she said.

Although clothes are commonly thought of as the only way to express one’s style, a carefully selected backpack can add to an outfit as an accessory, Patel said.

JJ Ryu (11) selected her backpack because it was trendy at that time, she said. Now, however, she never buys new backpacks, because “it’s annoying and I like my backpack now,” she said.

For Caroline Scherr (11), who carries around a stuffed backpack, “buying a new backpack isn’t something that happens annually, but rather something that happens after my old one breaks,” she said.

“Wearing clothes from brands like Virgil Abloh and Supreme comes with a toll. Knowing that you are going to be judged everywhere you go, kids will always be talking behind your back about what you wear,” George Harris (9) said.

The term “hypebeast” has taken the fashion world by storm. Brands associated with hypebeast culture have traditionally been streetwear companies like Supreme, Off-White, and Bape, but recently the brands that are most representative of hypebeast culture include Palace, Balenciaga, Champion, and others, Alexa Watson (11) said.

For James Thomas (9), “a hypebeast is someone who wears expensive name brands that are trendy at the moment just for the sake of wearing them,” he said.

Students have differing opinions about the definition of a hypebeast, Harris said. “Some people gossip about hypebeasts because they are jealous, mainly because that merchandise is expensive. Others believe that a hypebeast looks like an entitled brat who is entirely focused on their appearance,” he said.

The term hypebeast can be defined as a “culture of celebrities popularizing certain brands and styles, which has become a trend among young people who want to be on the same level as these icons through their clothing,” Sidh Chawla (11) said.

Although some individuals turn people away with their hypebeast clothing, it is not uncommon for students at the school to use expensive hypebeast goods to show off. “The high price points of these brands are well known, but people wear it anyway because the hypebeast culture is its own group culture,” Eden Plepler (10) said. “When you’re wearing this type of clothing, you become part of the culture.”

Wearing “cool” items, keeping up with fashion trends, and being original are factors that make a hypebeast. “I would say wearing cool stuff, keeping up with fashion, and most importantly being original are what makes a hypebeast,” Dylan O’Reilly (9)  said.

With the growth of hypebeast culture, a variety of retailers has created less expensive alternatives to traditional hypebeast apparels, O’Reilly said. “For example, you can go to Forever 21, Zara, or Uniqlo, and pick up clothing that still looks cool,” O’Reilly said.

“People are more attracted to certain brands, and people can ‘get away’ with stuff that looks cool and looks similar to hypebeast clothing,” Thomas said. “But you have to make sure that you don’t wear anything that looks like you’re ripping off the hypebeast clothes because you’ll then get a lot of flak.”

The school has experienced its own hypebeast rise over the past several years, as some students have become more involved in the world of fashion and design.

Harris believes that even though there aren’t many hypebeasts at the school, the kids who do wear “hype” clothing often become obsessive and even over the top, he said. “It becomes their whole lifestyle and [it’s] all they care about,” Harris said.

For Thomas, hypebeast culture has not impacted the classroom environment, but it has definitely changed the atmosphere at school, he said. “I feel like kids are too attached to what they are wearing and less concerned about other parts of their lives and those of others.”

Science Teacher Dr. Rachel Mohammed believes that “the level of respect [between students] is brought about by the implicit biases we have in the way we judge and interact with other people based on their appearance, including the price of clothing,” Mohammed said.

“What students wear can affect how they see themselves and the view that others have of them,” Spencer Rosenberg (9) said.

However, outside of class, the trend has become a part of school life as social groups have formed around hypebeast clothing.

Alexa Watson (11), who resells hypebeast merchandise, believes that certain friend groups form as a result of the hypebeast culture, she said.

However, students at the school make a distinction between classmates who appreciate fashion and those  who wear brands including Bape and Supreme simply for the brands’ reputation.

“Few kids who wear hype clothing actually appreciate fashion, especially younger students,” Watson said.  “There is a smaller group of students who appreciate hypebeast culture’s evolution and the way streetwear is used as a means of expression.”

“At first, people buy hypebeast stuff because it signifies wealth, but then as a person gets into the hypebeast mentality, it becomes a lifestyle,” Harris said. “People continue to buy clothing and shoes, not as a way to brag, but it becomes who you are, and you have to embrace it.”

“Many kids like to see their favorite actors, rappers, or athletes wearing the same brands they wear, and they aspire to be like their idols,” O’Reilly said.

“Kanye West’s brand, Yeezy, is a major part of the hypebeast culture, and kids feel like they can wear Kanye’s music through his fashion,” Chawla said.

Brands have capitalized on the publicity that comes with celebrity attention in order to expand their customer base.

“The rise of social media makes it easy for people to publicize what they wear,” Nina Mussa (10) said. “The number of people who wear hypebeast clothing has grown exponentially because it has become so publicized.”

“People are drawn to these hypebeast brands not for the clothes in and of themselves, but instead because of what they represent,” Alex Nathan (9) said.

“People like the designs, but when it comes to clothes, it is mainly focused on the brand; people often make the decision based on the brand name, which in many cases is connected to higher prices,” O’Reilly said.

At school, Ricky Lipsey (9) believes that “the hypebeast trend is bad because students spend ridiculous amounts of money on brands like Supreme not because they like the clothing, but because they want to look cool,” he said.

“The obsession with hypebeast clothing only feeds into the school’s absolute fixation on material goods,” Nathan said.

“Some students who wear hypebeast apparel act as if they are better than those who don’t have some piece of clothing or pair of shoes with a brand’s logo on them,” Rosenberg said. 

Other students have different explanations for the behavior of some hypebeasts.

“I would say that the reason people have negative associations with our school’s hypebeasts is not because hypebeast clothing alters an individual’s personality, but instead because the hypebeast trend, at least at Horace Mann, attracts people who are willing to pay two thousand dollars for a pair of shoes,” Watson said. 

Though hypebeasts have their critics, other students support the trend. “If you are wearing clothing that makes you feel happy, confident, and good about yourself, then that shouldn’t cause problems for others,” Daniela Koplin (9) said.

Students at the school have capitalized on the hypebeast “rush” by taking part in the resale of hypebeast merchandise, Watson said.

Those who are quick enough to purchase these goods are able to resell them at hugely marked up prices and make hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, Lipsey said.

“I was able to buy Travis Scott’s shoe for $175, but it now resells on StockX [a high-end fashion resale site] for more than $1000,” Lipsey said.

Watson also resells hypebeast clothing to fellow students and even international buyers.

“Although most of my customers are from overseas, I definitely sell clothes and shoes to kids in the Middle and Upper Division,” Watson said. “Most kids at HM who I sell to are underclassmen, the majority of whom are freshmen, and even seventh and eighth graders.”

Regardless of the difference in opinions, “hypebeast culture has taken on a unique role at the school,” Harris said. “It is a way for people to make money, connect with celebrities, and even express themselves through fashion.”