Today the brand Hot Topic turned 25, so it’s officially too old to shop in its own stores. Sure, now they love screamo, but as weeditor gladly admits, I spent my early teens at Hot Topic and love that store. Here are some reasons we should celebrate their birthday.
Today the brand Hot Topic turned 25, so it’s officially too old to shop in its own stores. Sure, now they love screamo, but as we gladly admit, we spent our early teens at Hot Topic and love that store. Here are some reasons we should celebrate their birthday.
The brand that made your parents force you to go to church during your teen years was like pagan cult itself. It was the place to be with other weirdos before you wrote in your Dead Journal and checked MySpace. As a teen, when someone said “I bought my lip ring at Hot Topic” what they were really saying is “My parents are thinking about a divorce." Everyone can agree that during our pubescent teen years Hot Topic got us through our toughest moments. Hanging out in the mall with our fellow ne'er-do-well friends finding out about The Cure, Depeche Mode and Weezer made the fact we sat alone in the lunchroom bearable. Sure, the football team beat us up every day, but we could always escape to the store to buy T-Shirts from bands we had to lie to our parents to go see. Hanging out in the mall was a major part of teen years, you could show the world how non-conformist you were with UFO pants, while you sat and ate at Cinnabon.
Enough with the nostalgia. Here are five reasons why you should get out your bondage pants and old nipple ring and celebrate with us.
1. Homey The Clown
Hot Topic's first pop culture license was Homey the Clown in 1992, making it older than the members of half the bands they carry merch for. What teen in the 90's didn’t stay up late to watch a Wayans brother playing an ex-con dressed as a clown, carrying a sock to knock kids in the head?
Usually, people get nostalgic for the 90’s and want the old Ninja Turtles back … but instead we just want Damon Wayans to be funny again.
2. South Park
In 1997, Hot Topic became the first store to carry South Park merchandise. And, in 1997 nothing got you sent to the principal's office faster than a shirt showing dead Kenny getting eaten by rats.
South Park made kids hurting kids funny instead of a reason to avoid the locker room, hallway, and back of the bus. Hot Topic was ahead of its time, you know who still loves South Park? Everyone. How did South Park repay them? By burning the store down in an episode.
3. Band T-Shirts
There was a time before the internet, where you had to go to a local fire house or park show to learn about new bands and get merch. Hot Topic changed all that by carrying band shirts before they were cool … and before saying “I knew about it before it was cool” was cool.
The first shirt we ever bought was a Weezer shirt and a girl named Brooke wearing a Screaming Weasels shirt kissed us because of it.
Not only could you show the world what kind of sub-culture you were into, you'd get invited over to listen to your friends new Offspring cassette, too. That's how friendships were invented.
4. Alice Cooper is an Employee
You know that song everyone sang on the last day of summer? The one where the school blew up? That's Alice Cooper. Sure, he's old now but back when Hot Topic was a lifestyle, he freaked '80s and '90s parents out more than the idea of actually spending time with their kids. Alice shopped at Hot Topic so much, they made him a lifetime employee.
5. Tattoos and Piercings
The guys in Blink 182 had lip rings and it was the most awesome thing ever. As a kid, the only place you could see people with those kinds of piercings was at the mall being chased by security guards or behind the register at Hot Topic.
Tattoos still scared people back in the day, but you could go to Hot Topic and see real live people who had demons and skulls tattooed into their skin and look up to them. Sure they worked retail, but they worked retail at the place we went to hang out.
Hot Topic was the place that welcomed kids going through puberty with open arms and said “We get you." An we forgive them for selling Twilight merchandise; it wasn't selling out …the kids who bought it were just as weird as the punkers and goths who first patronized Hot Topic. Let's all celebrate by putting on our The Cure hoodies and eyeliner and going back into the store to talk about our terrible parents.
This store has been making awkward kids feel okay for 25 years and let's hope for 25 more.