In Defense of Hot Topic

My name is Maricela, and I shop at Hot Topic.

There, I said it — it’s out on the Internet for all the world to see. I’ve had plenty (plenty!) embarrassing moments in my life, but the utter shame I felt walking into Hot Topic last week was absurd. But I won’t stand for it any longer — here are the top three reasons to check out Hot Topic (especially for those already past the awkwardness of adolescence):

One Stop Shop for Pop Culture Gifts

Yes, okay, you can still find things like this and this at Hot Topic, but now more than ever it’s fully stocked with a multitude of pop culture related merchandise. Like Think Geek, Hot Topic and offer merchandise from various licensees including Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Doctor Who, My Little Pony, and even anime. One of its largest collections is of Disney merchandise, especially the Disney Princess line. But this is no Disney Store fare — a lot of the Disney merchandise is for teens and older. Or at least that’s what I told myself when I bought this Maleficent muscle tee. Regardless, Hot Topic’s variety of themed fashion, accessories, and tchotchkes is a great option for those looking for a unique gift for that movie/TV/music-obsessed loved one.

Options for Female Fans

Speaking of unabashedly geeky muscle tees, one of the most refreshing aspects of Hot Topic is the multitude of women’s fandom fashion options. Her Universe is great but only has so much merchandise. Rather than getting stuck with unisex T-shirts or mildly offensive gender role-defining options, female freaks and geeks of all ages can choose from a wide variety of stylish, cute, funny, and fun duds. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of unisex T-shirts (classified under “Guys Tees“) and unnecessary sexy costumes of benign characters. But there’s also so much more.

Options for Fans of All Sizes

Fandom merchandise for men and women is all well and good — but what about fandom merchandise for men and women of all shapes and sizes? Unlike the limited, pricey collections from stores and websites like Black Milk, Hot Topic (and especially its online store) presents a significant amount of merchandise in sizes ranging from XS to 2X or 3X.

Hot Topic’s biggest obstacle is Hot Topic itself. The young-skewing apparel and accessories store desperately needs rebranding. Firmly associated with angsty scene pre-teens and aloof, neon-haired employees, Hot Topic should instead showcase itself as the fandom appreciation hub that it is. I like to think of Hot Topic as the Tumblr of stores — there are many annoying, inappropriate components to it (does anyone really need that many wallet chains a.k.a. any wallet chains?) — but at its heart, it’s a fun, inclusive celebration of pop culture. Actually…Yahoo should totally look into acquiring Hot Topic, too.

Plus, then I can walk into the store without an all-consuming sense of shame — just the slight self-consciousness of any twenty-something on Tumblr.



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