Hypebeast CEO Kevin Ma says his latest project came about organically: “We were just sitting around, browsing Instagram and being like ‘These kids are cool.’” It sounds like he could be talking about the birth of just about any streetwear-related project, but when Ma says “kids,” he means the under-10 crowd.
A few weeks ago, Hypebeast announced that it would be rolling out Hypekids, a sneaker-centric online destination for parents who want to make sure little Gus and Maeve are wearing the latest Yeezys. According to Ma, it’s the natural next step after the success of Hypebeast and Hypebae, both of which offer news and shopping content about the same kind of hyped-up streetwear — just for grown-ups.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Ma says he doesn’t think there’s a ton of streetwear for children currently on the market, though he hopes Hypekids will inspire more companies to wade into the waters already being explored by luxury brands like Burberry or Gucci. After all, on Hypebeast, “We get the Yeezy children’s sizes and they do really well.”
Ma launched Hypebeast in 2005 as a side project while working in finance, before leaving to make it his career. Is there really a big market for cool toddlers wearing head-to-toe Supreme and wielding Balenciaga stuffed animals? Here’s what he told the Cut.
When did you first start thinking of launching Hypekids?
After we launched Hypebae, which was February of last year, we were like “We have the guys, we have the girls, what’s next?” We started thinking about how, as we’ve grown up — I’ve been in this industry for over ten years now — we’re thinking about kids and all that stuff. So it was like, “You gotta buy clothes for kids anyway. Why don’t you buy some cool clothes?”
Why do you think there’s been so much more cool childrenswear lately?
I think it’s a progression. We grew up with cool sneakers. I don’t have a kid yet, but naturally, when you have a child, you want to buy cool stuff for that kid. It’s basically the parents buying things for kids. It’s not really the kids making decisions.
You’re based in Hong Kong. Do you often see kids wearing head-to-toe streetwear?
Not walking around, but maybe a couple times in a stroller. It really starts with the sneakers. Brands are starting to produce more children’s sneakers.
Do you think the same kind of cool childrenswear culture exists in New York?
Yeah, it’s a global phenomenon. I believe parents want to buy the best for their children, for the most part. I don’t think there’s a difference between Hong Kong and New York or L.A. and Europe.
How lucrative is childrenswear as a market right now?
To be honest, before launching the site, we didn’t really do any studies on the market potential. I’m sure childrenswear is big. My friends say “Okay, I’m not buying stuff for myself anymore. I’m buying for my kids.” Hearing about that, I’d say it’s a big market. I think there’s a lot of potential.
Tell us a little bit about the unboxing videos you’re doing with Foot Locker as a sponsor.
For sure. We get the reactions from these kids on different shoes. We’re excited to get their opinions because kids are really honest. Kids are cute so as long as they’re being themselves; it works.
Are there any childrenswear trends you’ve noticed lately?
I think it follows how adults dress — just in children’s sizes. It’s just really cute to see a child dress like an adult, right?