Hot Topic: 15 Facts You Didn’t Know (Part 1)

Hot Topic has become one of the top mall stores of the past 27 years, selling clothing, accessories and music to shoppers more into rock than prep. Over the years, they have developed into a sanctuary of kitsch and fandom, appealing to those into both My Chemical Romance and Doctor Who. Though often criticized for the way they have made punk mainstream, Hot Topic still manages to do good business selling to those who don’t care where they get their Manic Panic. Read on to find out more about the company, and check back for part two of our list, coming soon.

Number Fifteen: Hot Topic Has Been Around Since 1989

Though it seems like their popularity has only sprung up in the last few years, the chain was conceived of in 1988 and debuted in malls around 1989.

Number Fourteen: The Company Started After Noticing a Hole in the Market

At the time Hot Topic was conceived of, So-Cal punk was starting to come into its own, but there were no stores that were dedicated to the scene. Hot Topic was started to fill this void, selling hair dye and “punk” brands. They became the first mall retailer to sell body jewelry (for places besides the ear). The company’s biggest selling point at the time became band T-shirts; which no one could obtain unless they went to a show. With the addition of licensed merchandise starting around 1992, the store started to cover fandom in a whole new way.

Number Thirteen: There Are Two Other Shops Associated With the Brand

The company that owns Hot Topic also owns two other clothing stores. Torrid was launched in 2001 and sells plus-sized fashions. Blackheart Lingerie launched in 2012 and sells lingerie and accessories.

Number Twelve: They Tried to Get into Social Media

In 2008, the company launched, a combination online retailer and music social network. The site offered visitors new music downloads, as well as interviews with bands and exclusive video content. However, the site was a failure and Hot Topic shut it down in 2011. They do most of their online business through now.

Number Eleven: They Filmed One TV Commercial

The ad aired in 1993 and featured punks hanging out on the street modeling clothing. Hot Topic has come a long way since then just on word of mouth. Another commercial would be unnecessary.

Number Ten: Hot Topic Has a Youth Charity

The Hot Topic Foundation was started in 2004 as a way to encourage children and young adults to become musicians and artists. Through the sale of guitar picks, money is raised and donated to various youth charities across the United States.

Number Nine: They Also Feed the Hungry

BoxLunch is an online store started in 2015 that sells both licensed and non-licensed gift and novelty items to help fight hunger. For every $10 spent in the store, a meal is donated to someone who needs it. In late 2015, eight brick and mortar BoxLunch stores were opened. Check back for part two of our list of 15 interesting facts about Hot Topic, coming soon.