hype cog

HYPEBEAST 100: The innovators from all realms of creativity in the spotlight.

The best in street culture and those from the arenas of high fashion and business directly inspiring and influencing the world outside their respective circles.

As the year comes to an end, our team of editors and contributors reflect on the individuals that made a significant impact within the realm of HYPEBEAST. As social media has allowed creators widen the reach of their message, various creative fields have consequently overlapped with other forms of expression. Whether it be within art, music, sports, or entertainment, having a concise, creative vision is absolutely necessary in creating an authentic and consistent message amidst the volatile nature of the internet.

The following list honors the accomplishments of visionaries that have inspired the world, beyond the world of street culture and fashion. It encompasses those that have challenged our imagination through ever-advancing technology, and those that have provided social commentary through design and creative content.

We present you the 2016 HYPEBEAST 100.



Interviews HB100 2016
See our Exclusive Interviews

As this year’s HYPEBEAST 100 kicks off, we are pleased to offer up a closer, in-depth look at some of our industries top influencers and creatives. Sitting down with New York’s Teddy Santis, the creator behind Aimé Leon Dore; Matt Williams, the founder and creative director of ALYX; and Chris Gibbs of Union Los Angeles; each share the challenges they have faced since their company’s beginnings and the different components which are integral to their growing brand. Santis, Williams, and Gibbs also offer up how they see their respective labels evolving in the future and hint at upcoming collaborations. Take a look at the full interviews below.

Matt Williams

Matt Williams

“As a modern designer, I feel I should always be taking advantage of the new technology that is available to me.”

Teddy Santis

Teddy Santis

“The focus has to remain on what the big picture goal is when it comes down to the brand.“

Chris Gibbs

Chris Gibbs

“To date, we have been blessed with two things: one, our customers are loyal, and two, real recognize real.”


Members

AAll100
All
A$AP Rocky
A$AP Rocky
Musician
Aaron Bondaroff
Aaron Bondaroff
Founder of Moran Bondaroff, Know Wave and aNYthing
Alessandro Michele
Alessandro Michele
Creative Director of Gucci
Alex Olson
Alex Olson
Professional Skateboarder, Founder of Bianca Chandôn and Call Me 917
Alexander Wang
Alexander Wang
Creative Director and CEO of Alexander Wang
Andrew Richardson
Andrew Richardson
Founder of Richardson Magazine
Arthur and Daniel Chmielewski
Arthur and Daniel Chmielewski
Co-founders of HAVEN and intelligence Magazine
Astrid Andersen
Astrid Andersen
Creative Director
Atsuhiko Mori
Atsuhiko Mori
Designer of WACKO MARIA
Aubrey “Drake” Graham
Aubrey “Drake” Graham
Musician and Actor
Brendon Babenzien
Brendon Babenzien
Designer & Creative Director at Noah
Carlo Rivetti
Carlo Rivetti
CEO of SPW and Creative Director of Stone Island
Chaelin “CL” Lee
Chaelin “CL” Lee
Musician
Chitose Abe
Chitose Abe
Founder and Creative Director of sacai
Chris Gibbs
Chris Gibbs
Owner of Union Los Angeles
Chris Stamp
Chris Stamp
Fashion Designer
Craig Atkinson
Craig Atkinson
Founder of wings+horns and CEO of CYC Design Corporation
Daisuke Obana
Daisuke Obana
Founder of N.HOOLYWOOD
Daisuke Yokoyama
Daisuke Yokoyama
Founder of Sasquatchfabrix.
Daniel Arsham
Daniel Arsham
Artist and Co-founder of Snarkitecture
Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osbourne
Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osbourne
Co-founders of Public School
Demna Gvasalia
Demna Gvasalia
Designer for Vetements and Creative Director for Balenciaga
Dr Woo
Dr Woo
Tattoo Artist
Edison Chen
Edison Chen
Founder of CLOT
Edwin Faeh
Edwin Faeh
Founder of Carhartt WIP
Eiichiro Homma
Eiichiro Homma
Founder and Creative Director of nanamica
Errolson Hugh
Errolson Hugh
Co-founder of ACRONYM
G Dragon
G Dragon
Musician
Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki
Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki
Co-founders of Maison Kitsuné
Gosha Rubchinskiy
Gosha Rubchinskiy
Designer
Guillaume Philibert
Guillaume Philibert
Founder and Creative Director of Filling Pieces
Hedi Slimane
Hedi Slimane
Photographer and Fashion Designer
Heron Preston
Heron Preston
Founder of HPC TRADING CO.
Hirofumi Kiyonaga
Hirofumi Kiyonaga
Founder of SOPHNET., uniform experiment and F.C.R.B.
Hiroki Nakamura
Hiroki Nakamura
Creative Director and Founder of visvim/WMV
Hiromichi Ochiai
Hiromichi Ochiai
Founder of FACETASM
Hiroshi Fujiwara
Hiroshi Fujiwara
Designer
Humberto Leon and Carol Lim
Humberto Leon and Carol Lim
Creative Directors of KENZO, Founders of Opening Ceremony
Imran Amed
Imran Amed
Founder of Business of Fashion
Jake Phelps
Jake Phelps
Editor at Thrasher
James Jebbia
James Jebbia
Founder of Supreme
Jason Dill
Jason Dill
Founder of Fucking Awesome and Hockey Skateboards
Jason Markk
Jason Markk
Founder of Jason Markk
Jeff Staple
Jeff Staple
Founder of Reed Space/Founder and Creative Director of Staple Design
Jerry Lorenzo
Jerry Lorenzo
Founder of Fear of God and F.O.G.
Joerg Koch
Joerg Koch
Founding Editor-In-Chief of 032c Magazine and Editor-In-Chief of SSENSE
John Elliott
John Elliott
Designer at John Elliott.
John Parker and Christiaan Ashworth
John Parker and Christiaan Ashworth
Co-founders of END. Clothing
John Wexler
John Wexler
Global Director of Entertainment & Influencer Marketing, adidas
Julie Anne Quay
Julie Anne Quay
Founder of VFiles
Jun Takahashi
Jun Takahashi
Founder of UNDERCOVER
Junichi Abe
Junichi Abe
Founder and designer at Kolor
Kanye West
Kanye West
Musician, Designer
KAWS
KAWS
Artist and Designer
Kiko Mizuhara
Kiko Mizuhara
Model, Designer and Actress
Kim Jones
Kim Jones
Artistic Director for Menswear at Louis Vuitton
Kyle Ng
Kyle Ng
Co-founder of Brain Dead
Lev Tanju
Lev Tanju
Founder of Palace Skateboards
Luca Benini
Luca Benini
Founder of Slam Jam Socialism
Luke Meier
Luke Meier
Co-founder and Creative Director of OAMC
Masaaki Homma
Masaaki Homma
Founder of mastermind JAPAN
Matt Williams
Matt Williams
Founder of ALYX
Natalia Maczek and Thomas Wirski
Natalia Maczek and Thomas Wirski
Fashion Designers for MISBHV
NEEK
NEEK
Founder and Designer of Anti Social Social Club
Nick Knight
Nick Knight
Fashion Photographer and Founder of SHOWstudio.com
NIGO
NIGO
Creative Director of UT and Human Made
Olivier Rousteing
Olivier Rousteing
Creative Director of Balmain
Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams
Musician/Designer
Poggy
Poggy
Creative Director of UNITED ARROWS & SONS
Raf Simons
Raf Simons
Fashion Designer
Rei Kawakubo and Adrian Joffe
Rei Kawakubo and Adrian Joffe
Founder and President of COMME des GARÇONS and Dover Street Market
Riccardo Tisci
Riccardo Tisci
Creative Director at Givenchy
Rick Owens
Rick Owens
Fashion Designer
Rihanna
Rihanna
Singer and Designer
Ronnie Fieg
Ronnie Fieg
Founder and Creative Director of KITH NYC
Ryo Ishikawa
Ryo Ishikawa
Founder of VANQUISH and Fxxking Rabbits
Ryo Kashiwazaki
Ryo Kashiwazaki
Shoemaker and Founder of Hender Scheme
Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
Founder of A-COLD-WALL*
Sarah Andelman
Sarah Andelman
Owner and founder of colette
Shawn Yue
Shawn Yue
Founder of MADNESS
Shinsuke Takizawa
Shinsuke Takizawa
Founder of NEIGHBORHOOD
Simon and Hannes Hogeman
Simon and Hannes Hogeman
Founders of Très Bien
Sk8Thing and Toby Feltwell
Sk8Thing and Toby Feltwell
Co-founders of Cav Empt
Skepta
Skepta
Musician
Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney
Founder of Stella McCartney
Stéphane Ashpool
Stéphane Ashpool
Founder and Creative Director of Pigalle
Takashi Murakami
Takashi Murakami
Artist
Takayuki Fujii
Takayuki Fujii
Designer of nonnative
Tatsuhiko Akashi
Tatsuhiko Akashi
Founder of MediCom Toy
Teddy Santis
Teddy Santis
Founder of Aimé Leon Dore
Tetsu Nishiyama
Tetsu Nishiyama
Founder of WTAPS, DESCENDANT and FORTY PERCENTS AGAINST RIGHTS
Thom Browne
Thom Browne
Designer
Tom Sachs
Tom Sachs
Contemporary Artist
Travis Scott
Travis Scott
Rapper and Producer
Tyler, The Creator
Tyler, The Creator
Musician and Fashion Designer
Verbal and Yoon
Verbal and Yoon
Co-founders of AMBUSH
Vincent Tsang
Vincent Tsang
Co-owner of Dime MTL
Virgil Abloh
Virgil Abloh
Founder and Creative Director of OFF-WHITE
Yohji Yamamoto
Yohji Yamamoto
Founder of eponymous label and adidas Y-3
Yosuke Aizawa
Yosuke Aizawa
Founder and Creative Director of White Mountaineering

Matt Williams

“As a modern designer, I feel I should always be taking advantage of the new technology that is available to me.”

Matt Williams

From starting the brand, what’s been the biggest challenges you faced along the way in the different areas that are involved, i.e, production, marketing, retail etc?

One of the hardest things when you’re a young is brand is the difficulty to meet minimums with factories, yet still being able to produce special pieces and get a pure vision seen. Additionally, growing a strong team can be challenging. Finding the right people that match your aesthetic, understand your vision and are a pleasure to spend time with is rare yet super important. We have been very lucky thus far. My wife takes care of sales and the rest of our team is either family or feels like family.

What’s been your highlight of 2016?

Being a part of the LVMH top 8 was truly amazing. Meeting all of the judges, speaking with them, walking them through the collection and hearing their thoughts was awe-inspiring. Even meeting the other designers was so special. I knew a couple of them already but just seeing the talent and how everyone works was was very moving. I think 2016 as a whole has been a really strong year. We have grown so much as a company and have acquired great new accounts worldwide. I am super proud of the imagery created for our seasonal catalogues with Nick Knight. I have also been able to progress so much in my personal design work by learning more about fabric development and working closely with incredible Italian factories to understand what is possible with garment construction.

As a brand that likes using different mediums such as print and 360 videos, how do you think technology will influence the way brands evolve moving forward, if at all?

As a modern designer, I feel I should always be taking advantage of the new technology that is available to me. I like to ask our suppliers for new materials, threads and techniques that they are using to see what works for the ALYX aesthetic. As I research and think more about the future of our world, I want to make a conscious effort to find ways to produce environmentally friendly yet high quality garments. I think the future of technology will allow garment construction to occur geographically near to where the items are sold. As far as a non-digital aspect, we produce printed catalogues to offer a sense of permanence for our supporters. We research and use special printing techniques and paper stocks to portray the images. The catalogue acts as a time capsule for this moment in time.

Has being based in Italy influenced any aspects of the brand?

Yes, definitely. As I began to develop a structure and vision for ALYX, I knew that working in Italy would be ideal for achieving the level of quality and precision I wanted for my brand. I was commuting back and forth between NYC and Ferrara so frequently. I decided to move to Italy for the next year to devote more time to developing the collections and to get closer with the production team and factories working on ALYX. The care and thoughtfulness that our suppliers put into the brand is very inspiring. Living here allows me to slow down a bit and put all of my focus into the brand. Italy is an incredible place to live. Fashion is instilled in Italian culture.

You collaborated with notable names such as Hiroshi Fujiwara and Nick Knight, what was it like working with them and what did you learn from it?

I am very lucky to call Nick Knight a dear friend. We have worked together on many projects over the past seven or eight years, so when I started my own brand I knew I wanted to involve him. It feels very special to be able to trust a collaborator so much. When we work together, we push each other hard to create a new language with the images we are producing and to try new things. It’s really fun. Working with Hiroshi is still quite new. I have always admired what he has contributed to fashion and culture over the decades. It was quite an honor when Hiroshi asked to collaborate. I really appreciate his sensibility and creation. He came to our showroom in Paris and we just started talking about fashion and clothing. The next thing I knew, I was traveling to Tokyo to work on our project together. I hope to work more with him in the future. It is really inspiring how relevant each of their work has remained over the years.


Teddy Santis

“The focus has to remain on what the big picture goal is when it comes down to the brand.“

Teddy Santis

Since starting the label over two years ago, what were some of the biggest challenges that you faced along the way?

One of the biggest challenges would have to be that I jumped into an industry with no previous experience in it all the while trying to perform on the level we currently are. Besides the lack of experience, maintaining an efficient structure while keeping up with the business has taken up a lot more time than I imagined and has definitely brought on some tough challenges.

How has the brand evolved since its birth in terms of aesthetic, brand direction or even manufacturing etc?

Every aspect of the brand has evolved tremendously. I feel that our aesthetic keeps getting stronger, more refined and it is evident that we own it. The brand direction has been one of our major focuses from the beginning and it’s been great watching it evolve. The fact that we stay true to what we believe in while continuously telling our story through different approaches definitely shows our evolution with both the brand direction and the brand’s message. As for manufacturing, it’s been a crazy ride but we are in a great place right now with partners who truly believe in us and vice versa.

The brand is being stocked in quite a few locations now, is opening more accounts the direction you’re going for or you’ll still remain selective?

Our goal from the beginning when we decided to approach global retail was to be very selective. I believe in partnering up with strong retailers who can share our story the right way and in a similar way that we have been sharing it. I don’t see us going deep into the wholesale model because it’s not what ALD represents as a whole. However, with regards to marketing, global exposure and the opportunity for our consumer in Korea or Australia to touch and feel our product, this approach makes the most sense. Our main goal is to spread our message and show what ALD stands for – this can be very difficult if you don’t partner up with retailers who run parallel to that idea.

How are you going to control that distinct vision once it’s being carried at different stockists, especially when every store has its own way of presenting product?

I feel like our aesthetic and overall brand image is so strong, and with the selection of retailers we have made who respect the vision we have, I don’t believe it will be an issue. The main goal is to have our own stores where we have full control of this but it’s easy to forget we are only a little over two years old. The focus has to remain on what the big picture goal is when it comes down to the brand. If we follow the strategy and formula we’ve set forth, I’m very confident that we’ll be approaching this industry in a way like no other. We are definitely still finding our sweet spot.

From the start, Aime Leon Dore has combined offline elements (photo cards, stickers, scent on the clothes etc.) and online elements (Leon Dore, Muse etc.), why do you feel it’s important to combine all these components?

It’s not about product for me. Yes, I’m a product geek and I love to hunt for something I love but it’s always been about what that product represents rather than what it is. I think our consumer gravitates towards ALD because of our message and what we represent. Granted, our product is very well made and the quality is up to par with the vision but I think the vision and what we are trying to shed light on is what people fall in love with. At the end of the day, I’m a storyteller. It’s about continuously telling our story through a platform and that platform just so happens to be ALD.


Chris Gibbs

“To date, we have been blessed with two things: one, our customers are loyal, and two, real recognize real.”

Chris Gibbs

Since setting up shop, what have been some of the biggest challenges that you”ve faced along the way?

There are too many to name. No one said it was going to be easy but the main challenge we have faced is how to make, keep and promote our identity from a brand perspective. In this day and age, that is the number one (with a bullet) thing that people want to know. This is what shapes the consumer’s confidence in you.

Constantly straddling your time between buying trips, managing inventory, and the creative direction of Union’s output, has 2016 been a progressive year for UNION?

It definitely has. First and foremost, 2015 was sh*te! The good news is, we learned the lessons that resulted lot from our mistakes in 2015 and have been able to avoid them and change things for the better in 2016.

What are some of the most exciting brands you got to work with this year?

We collaborated with Vans and we are super excited with the shoe, which will be coming out early 2017. We also have a collaboration in the works with Dickies that should be quite epic, once it’s complete. In addition, we did a slew of colabs for Complex Con: Neighborhood, Wacko Maria, Pleasure, Noah, Brain Dead and Fear of God. All of them turned out to be amazing.

As more brands move towards e-commerce, is there a strategy you follow which ensures consumers keep visiting the brick and mortar?

It’s probably not the best strategy, but honestly speaking, we just do us and we don’t worry bout anyone else. There are too many stores out there trying to do what we do. To date, we have been blessed with two things: one, our customers are loyal, and two, real recognize real…nahmeen?!

This year, you launched the ”Superdopehypeincredible” series, what do you look to achieve with this? How do you curate the lineup of creatives you feature?

My very talented wife Beth Birkett really took over all of our social media, editorials and marketing. Supredopehypeincredible has been her baby. For the most part she just f*cks with the people that we cross paths with in our life and business. Interesting people, typically creatives, doing something Suprer/Dope/Hype/Incredible in their lives. We just want to share it with everyone.

 
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