Believe ‘The Hype’: HBO Max’s Fashion Battle Brings the Season-Finale Swag
And then there were three. HBO Max’s edgy couture competition The Hype drops its second-season finale today, and the trio of designers left in the loft are feeling the heat. Not only do they need to pick the perfect look-book photographs of their fashions so far, but then they also need to sell the judges and co-signers Offset, Bephie Birkett and Marni Senofonte on their brands. Up for grabs is a $150,000 cash prize and an exclusive deal with StockX, as well as a potential buy-in from the co-signers.
So while the insanely talented Knoxx, Khanh Ngo and Barth ready their final showcases, we fired off a few questions to Rob Eric, the Chief Creative Officer and Executive Producer with Scout Productions, the group behind The Hype. And suffice it to say, this guy fits in perfectly with the sick fits served on the show.
Streetwear is so having a moment right now, and the show dropped just as it was slipping into the mainstream. Did you realize how ahead of the curve this show was?
Rob Eric: We always strive to have our finger on the proverbial cultural pulse, but to be honest, streetwear has been having a moment for decades. Yes, we are certainly seeing it more and more thanks to social media and it has definitely found its way onto high-fashion runways, but streetwear has been thriving for years. I personally have been a streetwear fanatic for a very long time and we have seen it pop its head into other fashion-competition series. There just hasn’t been a show where it was truly the star! We are so proud to have been able to make The Hype 100% about the culture and community of streetwear, as well as how important it is in the overall world of what we call fashion.
You mention other fashion competitions and we have seen so many of them. So what was the guiding principle in producing one that remained as edgy as the fits being created on the show?
Authenticity to the true creative force of streetwear and the designers that make it so hype. The show needed to have the same vibe as the fashion. It needed to feel fresh and streetwear, no matter the decade, always brings a huge fresh perspective. Until now it just never got its true credit and spotlight.
What was the casting process like? Because you need people with skills, personality and sales savvy.
The casting on this show is one of the most amazing parts of producing it. There are so many talented streetwear designers out there, with true creativity and passion for this community. It was insanely hard for us to narrow it down to the designers you see on Season 2. Honestly, we could have cast three full seasons with what we saw in the casting process.
Which of this season’s designers surprised you by bringing more than you first saw on camera?
Knoxx. Hands down, we were all loving the evolution of her design style. She has a huge future ahead of her.
The show and the designers have taught viewers so many new cultural phrases and concepts. Were there any that your staff had to Google to understand?
Not really. We have a savvy team on The Hype who loves streetwear and is very, very familiar with the world. We never had that Meryl Streep moment of not knowing why she was being called a GOAT. [Laughs]
How are the challenges crafted? Are they stacked from easiest to toughest as the episodes proceed?
We try to give the competitors a true taste of what the industry is like at a bigger and more executive level. Most of these designers work for themselves, and as you get bigger in the world of fashion, it means more voices and more challenges that are harder to keep up with. We try to put them through it all on the show. Certainly, the challenges themselves—and the time to accomplish them—get tougher and tighter as the season progresses. But at the end of the day, we want everyone on the show to succeed and grow even if they are eliminated. In Season 1, several designers who didn’t make it to the finale still found themselves with amazing collabs and opportunities after displaying their expertise on the show.
For the season finale, explain what viewers can expect and how tense is the set when you are filming these final hours that can change a person’s life?
Finales are bittersweet. They are also the most nerve-wracking, life-changing, nail-biting episodes to shoot. You want everyone to do their very best and shine like a diamond, but not everyone reacts the same way under pressure. Obviously, we can’t help them, so we have to watch successes and failures with people we really care about. This season’s finale, however, was like watching three titans go head to head for streetwear blood. It was awesome!
The Hype, Season Finale, Thursday Oct. 6, HBO Max.