William Nylander is going to be a special hockey player. He’s crushed just about every level of hockey at the youth level, managed a 90 point pace with the Marlies even when a World Junior concussion and appendicitis slowed him down. He scored at a 50 point pace in his stint with the Leafs. He just turned 20, already looks like a soon-to-be star game breaker, and still might not be as good as two younger guys in the system. It’s a great time to be alive.
Not to mention, as Meg pointed out this week, he has hall-of-fame hair. But while we’re in summer mode and focusing on his dashing appearance, let’s get something out of the way; William Nylander might just be a hypebeast.
What the **** is a Hypebeast?
I’m trying to sound as smart as possible while nitpicking a 20-year-old’s outfit, so this is an introductory sentence that leads to a cited definition, which I got from Bustle.com:
There seem to be some conflicting definitions about the nuances of “hypebeast.” Most people agree that a hypebeast is particularly interested in doing what’s in vogue in order to impress other people, like buying cool, new shoes, snapbacks, or sweatshirts. Some people argue that a hypebeast usually uses other people’s money, typically belonging to their parents, older siblings, and so on; otherwise, meanwhile, claim that a hypebeast has an abundance of cash flow of their own that allows them to purchase such luxuries. It seems that poplar brands worn by hypebeasts include Stussy, Crooks and Castles, Supreme, Huf, Vans, and Alife.
That’s more or less correct; to dumb it down, we’ll consider a hypebeast a more recent term for somebody who chases urban fashion trends, and worries more about in-demand brands than they do about actually expressing themselves in a unique way with their clothing.
You don’t have to look much further than Willie’s Instagram profile in the past four months to see where we’re headed.
If I was lazy, I could walk in and out of this with these three pictures of his feet and call it a day. Sneaker culture is huge these days, and Kanye West reigns supreme on the hype-meter in this regard. His Nike releases resell for as much as $7-8000, but it’s his collaborations with Adidas that have taken the streets by storm.
A kid who’s prior footwear was dominated by Converse, Common Projects (or similar) and dress shoes posted photos with not one, not two, but three pairs of Yeezy Boost 350s. He showed off the Turtle Doves with Viktor Loov and Kasperi Kapanen fifteen weeks ago, rocked the Pirate Blacks six weeks ago, and rolled Oxford Tans into the rotation four weeks ago. The only model he’s missing of the summer’s biggest shoe is the Moonrock colourway, a grey/green which might be the best of the bunch.
What he’s invested into this, I don’t know. If he was really lucky at winning raffles or cashing out on the Adidas website, those shoes are about $250 each retail. If he hit up a Flight Club location and spent some of his Leafs money, you’re looking at about $7000 total. Maybe he has a connection. Maybe he’s wearing knockoffs, which range from $20-250 depending on how close you want them to be to the real deal. Whatever the case, he’s really intent on being on that wave. Let’s zero in on two of these outfits for a second:
Dark coloured bomber jacket? Check, and one that he apparently has to share with Alex (you’ll often notice that they’re wearing each others clothes, as you’d expect out of brothers I guess). Pirate Black Yeezys? The most hyped of the four colours, check. Ripped jeans? You bet. This outfit totally screams “I want to be Kanye” more than anyone I’ve seen other than Justin Bieber. Hey, wait a second…
I guess that explains the captain of the post too. Whatever, it’s still a pretty good fit, even if it’s got a bit of an identity crisis to it. At least it’s not this:
Let’s review again. Same model of Yeezys, but Oxford Tans instead of Pirate Black. Exact same pair of jeans. The real eyebrow raisers are at the torso, though:
First off, Fur (even if fake) in August? Dude, I know you’re all trying to have NHL summers, but that seems like an odd way to melt off the body fat. Secondly, with a jersey? That’s just tacky. But it’s the fact that it’s a Michael Jordan jersey, paired with those shoes? That would be the real crime against humanity here. Somebody put The Life of Pablo on his Apple Music library and make him listen to Facts on repeat for an hour. Yeezy can’t jump over Jumpman if your fit has them both on the same body.
Does It Matter?
Look, this might seem like I’m talking shit about the clothes William Nylander likes, but I can’t really say I’m much better. I spent eight hours on the Nike website yesterday hitting “add to cart” on a pair of Air Jordan 1s. I get my casual-day clothing inspiration from places like tumblr, /r/streetwear, /fa/, and the clothing section of kanyetothe. I once bought an XFL jersey for the sake of layering in an outfit. And truthfully, minus the Jordan jersey fit, most of his choices are pretty great. Part of me is actually just jealous.
Plus, really, Nylander is a 20-year-old kid in a suddenly-culturally-relevant metropolis with a ton of disposable income from both his parents and now himself. There’s nothing really wrong with being a hypebeast and this is the exact right time for him to experiment with his personal style; I just find it funny that a guy who can rock an outfit like this:
…is seemingly stuck somewhere between Kanye West and Justin Bieber right now. Either way, I’d rather him blatantly swipe style from people more famous than him than be one of the other thousands of hockey players wearing Reebok t-shirts and boat shoes. Besides, once he starts putting up points at, uhh, will for the Leafs, nobody is going to care what his outfits look like.