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I Went Inside A Hot Topic For The First Time In 15 Years

It's changed a lot.

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If you were a ~super edgy~ teen like me, you probably spent the early 2000s lurking around your local mall's Hot Topic.

In high school, I went through an intense Tori Amos/fairies phase, and I'll have you know that I bought *all* my pewter fairy figurines here.
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In high school, I went through an intense Tori Amos/fairies phase, and I'll have you know that I bought *all* my pewter fairy figurines here.

Hot Topic is very much still in business, but how has it changed since the days of ironic metal lunchboxes and Marilyn Manson tees? I headed to the mall to find out, because I hadn't been in one for like 15 years.

The exposed brick and sleeker logo definitely give it less of a goth vibe than I remembered. Much more "industrial hipster loft."
Jess Misener / BF

The exposed brick and sleeker logo definitely give it less of a goth vibe than I remembered. Much more "industrial hipster loft."

Inside, the store was a chaotic mish-mash of synthetic fabric and fandom ephemera.

This is a table full of Harry Potter stuff surrounded by racks and racks of MORE STUFF. I started to get a little sweaty. I really think this store is laid out to give anyone over 25 an anxiety attack.
Jess Misener / BF

This is a table full of Harry Potter stuff surrounded by racks and racks of MORE STUFF. I started to get a little sweaty. I really think this store is laid out to give anyone over 25 an anxiety attack.

First observation: There was LOTS of Pokémon.

Jess Misener / BF

Pokémon underwear, socks, jewelry, backpacks, plush Pikachus, you name it. TEENS LOVE THE 'MON.*

*A cutting-edge teen abbreviation I just thought of.
Jess Misener / BF

*A cutting-edge teen abbreviation I just thought of.

To my nostalgic relief, Hot Topic still sells band T-shirts.

I have not heard of any of these bands tbh.
Jess Misener / BF

I have not heard of any of these bands tbh.

They are literally named after anxiety dreams??

Jess Misener / BF

And One Direction is cool enough for Hot Topic?

Jess Misener / BF

Lo and behold, belly button rings are still a thing. (See, Dad, you were wrong! They ARE still cool 15 years later!!)

Jess Misener / BF

This is a pretty good BOGO deal.

Jess Misener / BF

Is this a Steinbeck reference??

Jess Misener / BF

Freddy (?) and his friends look like Looney Tunes: The Meth Years tbh.

Jess Misener / BF

These Pop! dolls must be cool, because they were all over the store.

Jess Misener / BF

*whispers* What is a POP?

Jess Misener / BF

Also big are bow ties and suspenders, the perfect emo accessories. Accessor-emos. Emossories. Are people still emo?

Jess Misener / BF

Indeed, there were a couple lingering remnants of the scene-kid lifestyle (RIP). Here, a lone pair of checked pants contemplates its unrealized hopes and dreams.

Jess Misener / BF

And skinny jeans have not given way to some new form of wide-legged JNCOs yet.

Jess Misener / BF

This display really hurt my adult noggin. A My Chemical Romance wallet, a Little Mermaid license plate frame, a tie with aliens on it, and a bunch of chains?

Jess Misener / BF

And My Chemical Romance appears to be owned by the Cartoon Network?!

Jess Misener / BF

This is a sports bra, I believe. Even Hot Topic has succumbed to shilling athleisure.

Jess Misener / BF

I mean, I have literally no idea about any of this.

Jess Misener / BF

In conclusion, Hot Topic is now basically Tumblr: The Store.

Jess Misener / BF

I guess goth kids have been replaced by ~quote, unquote~ nerds?

Jess Misener / BF

And Hot Topic must be indirectly paying a huge crap ton of licensing fees.

Jess Misener / BF

Thank you for joining me on this journey, fellow Olds.

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