A COLLEAGUE recently bought a branded shirt as a gift to her daughter. She told me later she has yet to give the shirt to her child because of her fear that her daughter might get bullied or worst mauled by teenagers posturing as "hypebeast" in the city. I did not know one might get beaten with the brand of cloth he/she wears.
The "hypebeast" has been the talk of the town recently especially after a mauling incident in Aurora Hill. A boy who was supposedly wearing a branded shirt was attacked by a group of teenagers only because he was wearing the same brand of clothing same with the attackers. I wonder so much why on earth a person would get beaten because of the maker of the apparel he/she wears. These teenagers are obviously acting in behalf of a practice set by a semi-organized group that can be partly categorized as "gang." This is not a farfetched idea considering the violence involved.
An investigation conducted by the police officers revealed that there are now a number of "hypebeast" groups formed under different banners. These groups can be identified with the brand of clothing they put on.
Allegedly, the clothing line brands include A Bathing Ape, A-Cold Wall, Alyx, Anti-Social Social Group, Baby Milo, Balenciaga, Bape, Chocolate Bag, Diamond Supply Corporation, Givenchy, Gucci, Hoods by Air, Jordans/Nike/Adidas Shoes, Off-white, Original Fake, Pablo Shirt, Palace, Pyrex Vision, Ref Simons, Shark Hoody/Pants (Adidas), Stone is Land, Supreme, Vans, Versace, and Vatements.
You can check if your children are fond of wearing these expensive clothing. It has now gained popularity among the adolescence because of its fashion statement. So don’t be surprised if you see young people doing "hypebeast" gestures or hear them say "hypebeast" while doing selfies.
There should be no problem about being part of a social group only if it is founded to help others but it’s another issue if there is violence, trickery, deception, and dishonesty involved.
Hypebeast was said to be founded by a salesman whose business is into selling high end clothing brand. To promote his business, he founded a group for teen-agers (who are obviously easy to lure) whose group’s identity is clothing fashion. These teenagers loved the idea. They bit the bait. They would be noticed and admired because they wear branded garments. In order to sustain this practice, they have to borrow or get their parents’ credit cards or worst steal. If they see others wearing the same brand of clothing, they bully, intimidate, or confiscate the clothing. The idea is that “if one uses one, he/she must be a member of the group” or else something bad will happen just like the case perhaps that happened in Aurora Hill.
New recruited members, like a gang or fraternity, allegedly, are asked to prove their loyalty by following whatever the leader commands. A report said new members are asked to pickpocket, bully, or intimidate others. There was also a rumor of a planning brawl between two factions associated with "hypebeast" but through the immediate response of our police officers the plan fortunately did not prosper.
Known meeting areas of these groups are Insular, City Hall Flag Pole area, Rose Garden on Burnham Park, and along Palma Street. These are only some of the observed meeting venues. Surely there are more. If we are vigilant we can always sense suspicious meetings of teenagers in other areas. The best thing to do is to contact authorities whenever we witness doubtful gathering of juveniles.
Targets members of these groups are elementary and high school students. Some identified members are enrolled in the big elementary and high schools in the city. Teen-agers are easily persuaded to be part of a social group especially groups that are centered in fashion. Young people who have problems at home are mostly the prey. Rich students who feel ignored at home and school can be easily victimized. So it is ingenious that the city government through its police force is involving the school and parents in solving this problem. This is a kind of group that is founded with the wrong cause and we must do everything we can to redirect the thoughts of our young fellows because from my standpoint, they are brainwashed.
Strategic alliance among government officials, parents and school officials is needed to stop the proliferation of these groups. If this is not checked the membership would surely rise. The incidents will increase. As parents, we want to pick up our children from school not from jails. We do want our children to get involved in violence especially fatal encounters. The objective of its foundation is to profit by deception.
Founders will do everything they can to maintain this system. The leaders are taking advantage of the impulsive and aggressive behavior of the youth. This must be responded with proper orientation from parents, school counselors, teachers, and the community.
Parents are called to do their part. We should not stop the supervision in their elementary years. Teenage years is just so overwhelming to them. Without proper guidance they could fall to traps like this kind of group. The same supervision should be given because it is in adolescence that their children become more adventurous, their curiosity rises, and they find excitement in challenging authorities.
There is no problem in using high brand clothing for our children if we can afford but we should prefer safety over luxury. We must not provide our children with expensive accessories. If we can refrain from buying these clothing brands it is good but if we can help stop the real cause of the problem which is the distorted mentality of the group, it is way better. This fashion statement using violence is atrocious.
As parents we should know better. We should know who our children’s friends are and who they go with. Enter into their world by frequently talking to them. Talk to them about their activities in school. Stopping this problem is not the work of our police officers alone. We do want our children to be involved in violence. We can help stop with our collaboration with the local government, the school, and the community.
Hypebeast is definitely an alarming concern we need to face. This is a big problem. We should not wait to act before our children will get victimized or get recruited. This is an erroneous example of social group and teenagers must be provided with the whole picture of deception by their leaders/founders. This is a serious threat to the peaceful community of the city. If we allow this through our tolerance, there will be blood.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on February 23, 2018.
Latest issues of SunStar Baguio also available on your mobile phones, laptops, and tablets. Subscribe to our digital editions at epaper.sunstar.com.ph and get a free seven-day trial.