Arts & Entertainment

Hot Topic turns 25; remember the glory days?

Hot Topic
Hot Topic
Hot Topic
Hot Topic
Hot Topic


Graphic tees. UFO pants. Spiky chokers. Punky Color. Ahhhh those middle school memories. 

Many of those trends were fueled by the beloved mall staple Hot Topic, which we know ruled the world at the height of '90s goth and grunge.

This month, Hot Topic turns 25. And we couldn't help reminiscing. 

(Photo: Hot Topic)

The store was actually born in a Southern California garage. The first Hot Topic opened in 1989 in Montclair, California. And ten years later, it moved to its official headquarters in The City of Industry. Today, there are 659 Hot Topic stores nationwide. 

Here's Hot Topic's first and only commercial circa 1993. 

Remember these trends?

Still to this day, Hot Topic excites KPCC staffers. 

"THEY HAVE WONDER WOMAN UNDEROOS. Just sayin'," wrote Lisa Brenner in our online office chat.

Then, the memories poured in. 

"Used to love that store. Got so many fun accessories and pop culture stuff there like Punky Brewster and Rainbow Brite t-shirts," wrote Jessica Hamlin. "Once when I was at a Hot Topic in freshman year of high school, one of their employees asked me if I drank blood. I said no and he asked me why. Oh those Hot Topic employees at the mall are so dark."

(Photo: Hot Topic)

But some people still don't get it. 

"I never understood that place," said my co-worker Brian Frank. "....I was never hip anyway." (Full disclosure: He later admitted that he was more of an Anchor Blue kind of guy.)

To commemorate this special place, I wore a Hot Topic choker around the office and to happy hour Thursday evening. You know, the kind that looks like a tattoo and has a yin-yang pendant. To be honest, I felt an odd mix of embarrassment and pride. 

I look so good

"Angela Chase," was the first comment in response to my new look. "Dawson's Creek," followed. "10 Things I Hate About You," was next. The pop culture references are endless. 

So we bring this question to you: What are your favorite Hot Topic memories? Is there a '90s trend that you love to talk about? We can't wait to hear on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

In the meantime, remember when "South Park" burned down a Hot Topic? That was fun. 

Watch South Park burn down Hot Topic

For a full stroll down memory lane, see our slideshow above and visit Hot Topic's amazing timeline here. To shop for these Hot Topic gems, go here (flash sale!). And we'll leave you with this: This place is still expanding. There's a new Hot Topic in Brentwood, people. 

Congrats on 25 years of teenage angst, Hot Topic!