Stores Like Hot Topic

Whether we admit it or not, we’ve all had a few years where Hot Topic was our go-to for shopping and entertainment. The all-consuming counterculture present in the store just screams rock, gaming, and pop culture. 

It’s easy to immerse yourself in fandoms, trends, and fun times through clothing, accessories, music, and more. But we’ll be the first to admit that despite the fascinating inventory, this brand isn’t always best for the budget.

That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to introduce a list of the top twelve stores like Hot Topic. Featuring similar aesthetics, inventory, and goals, these locations offer up a wide selection of stock that we can’t help but adore.

Overview of Hot Topic

Before getting into comparisons, we need to take a moment to check in with the original. Founded in 1988, this store entered the world with a mission of bringing music appreciation into the expanding world of teen stores. 

Aiming for an edgier side, Hot Topic took to becoming a cool destination for teens to shop music and apparel. Who doesn’t want a t-shirt to rep their favorite band?

Moving quickly in 1990 to introduce over 50 bands into their inventory, the passage of time really only showed the owners one thing: music was just the beginning. 

Their demographic was just as interested in pop culture, cartoons, and what would become known as fandoms. So, they delivered. Fast forward to today and this brand currently features pop culture, band merch, Funko Pops, and more all licensed by the original names. 

Top-quality content with a wide selection to choose from, Hot Topic has made a name for themselves amongst teens everywhere for providing a cool place with something to offer everyone.

From bright and cheery Hello Kitty to black metal band apparel – it’s all available online and in-store at one of their 600+ locations.

It’s no wonder that this business has made themselves so successful. There’s so much more to them than just being a teenage store. Check out just a few highlights of this big-name brand.


  • Offers an incredibly expansive collection of inventories
  • International shipping
  • Free order and pick up in-store
  • Constant sales

How We Chose The Best Stores Like Hot Topic

We didn’t go into this list blindly. One does not simply select stores like Hot Topic without putting real thought and research into it. That’s why before listing off any names, we wanted to give our reasoning behind these selections.

As with any purchase (or window shopping as we all love to do), there are some considerations that have to come into play.

Common entries like price and quality obviously need to be taken into account, but more so than that, we wanted to focus on selection, diversity, and inclusion. Just how do the brands market their stock and what all is available?

It’s not just about a universal teen image anymore. Now we look for representation. From the models online to creators behind the stores and products. It’s all about the story of the brand itself to really pull us in.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Rather than giving our reasons here, let’s dive into exactly how we selected the stores like Hot Topic that we wanted to feature.


As we mentioned earlier, the original can get a bit pricey. That’s why we searched for both brands on par with Hot Topic and stores like Hot Topic but cheaper to encourage saving a bit of cash. 

Just because we want to support favorite bands or take a moment to embrace elements of pop culture doesn’t mean we need to go broke doing so.


Let’s be honest for a moment – Hot Topic has a very distinct style. They’re not dark per se, but there’s a definite edge to them that draws people in. 

It only makes sense that when searching for stores like Hot Topic, we’d veer towards businesses that present a similar style in their marketing and stock. When it comes to attitude in store appearance, we can never have enough.


This element is somewhat two-fold. We understand that to really want to buy from stores like Hot Topic, the same quality of pieces is needed.

There’s no shame in wanting top-tier products considering the money spent. But there’s another aspect that needs to be considered here.

In today’s climate, we can’t pretend to ignore the issues surrounding ethical and sustainable production and sourcing

So, while it’s not a mandatory requirement, these features are definitely prevalent throughout our minds and our list. Just because we want to show off love and support for bands and pop culture doesn’t mean the same can’t be done for our world.


When you don’t quite know what to shop for, selection can be a tricky one. While many stores like Hot Topic carry clothing geared towards teens and young adults, not all of them cover the rest of the inventory. 

Hot Topic is known for memorabilia, gifts, and gags with pop culture items. While some on this list only include clothing and accessories, we did track down a few brands that follow suit of throwing in that pop culture element at a great price.


We’ll admit, we really focused on accessibility for this one. While all brands offer shipping, not everyone has services available internationally. Some offer in-person locations with orders and free pick up while others exist only online. 

And in this internet-driven world, it only seemed fair to focus on where places shipped to let customers know what businesses were actually viable options to consider.

Diversity & Inclusion

So, here’s the deal – this consideration is overlooked too often. We wanted to make a point here by highlighting diversity and inclusion in each brand.

Stores like Hot Topic and other “mainstream” businesses tend to get away with one-size, one-race models and we wanted to take it upon ourselves to explore that more.

 Do all companies play this game or are we seeing more diverse appearances in race, gender, and body type?

This may not be a deal-breaker for you personally, but for some, it makes a big difference to know they’re being seen and appreciated for their appearance.

Now, without further ado, our 12 best stores like Hot Topic:

  • BlackMilk
  • Urban Outfitters
  • PacSun
  • MerchNow
  • Darkside
  • Spencer’s
  • Zumiez
  • Forever 21
  • Tilly’s
  • iHeartRaves
  • Rockabilia
  • RebelsMarket

12 Best Stores Like Hot Topic

Hitting hard and fast with a quick list, we want to note that while we tried our best to get all the relevant info in one place, we couldn’t do a deep dive into everything.

Some selections had more details online than others, but overall we aimed for equal information on all parts to provide well-rounded pictures of each company listed.

Walking through our top 12 stores like Hot Topic, we’re focusing on selection, styles, prices, diversity, and convenience moving forward. These brands wouldn’t make the list if the quality wasn’t assured and, despite our best efforts, none of them really offered up info on their production and sourcing practices. 

So, we’re settling for second best by really nailing each brand on the other criteria.

#1 – BlackMilk

Since 2009, founder James Lillis has brought passion, fun, and flair to the fashion world with his business BlackMilk.

What originally began as a way to combat boredom took a turn as Lillis gained an interest in sewing and design that took off into a world of fabrics, stretch materials, and blog sales until the creation of his own online store.

Working with his own unique takes on tights, tops, dresses, jumpsuits, and more, Lillis wanted to bring pop culture twists into the world as well. 

Now with lines of attire based around Harry Potter, Squid Game, The Witcher, and a number of other online fandoms, customers can dress to impress and embrace the series they love.

Featuring a number of models from diverse backgrounds, this brand is all about showing off true passions and the true self. What better way to express individuality than through clothing? 

With their product prices ranging from $7 to $95, there seems to be a price point for everyone in this brand and with their wide selection of quality items, it’s easy to see why this brand joins our list of stores like Hot Topic online.

#2 – Urban Outfitters

Centered around the transitional stage of college-age living, Urban Outfitters came to the market in 1970 to create a space for late teens and young adults to find their style both in fashion and home décor. 

Offering a range of clothing for men and women, the business expands beyond attire to home, lifestyle, and beauty products as well, aiming to be a one-stop location for buyers.

So, what makes Urban Outfitters stand out? In addition to their inclusive styles and models spanning gender-conforming to neutral to androgynous, the selection really makes this brand pop. 

They’re everywhere plus offer international shipping, so it doesn’t get much more convenient for shoppers to search through the selection from clothes to accessories to décor and even disposable cameras.

No matter where a customer finds themselves, purchasing is within their power.

We will say that the price here is a wild ride. There are some clothes and styles offered in the lower end of the spectrum from $8 to $30, but then they have top-quality pieces that exist more in the $900 to $1,100 end. 

It’s hard to say exactly where this one gets placed for pricing as the gap between the lowest and highest items could essentially be a chasm. Still, we like that they offer such a wide selection in terms of items and pricing.

#3 – PacSun

We want to start out by saying when it comes to diversity, PacSun leads the way. Models of every race, skin type, hair type, and identity appear throughout this site giving way to a true feeling of inclusion. 

And all of that is before looking at the clothes and business itself. Good first impression in our books.

All about community, PacSun encourages youth to express their own styles through a wide collection of popular and relevant brands. 

Working with partners such as Adidas and Brandy Melville while throwing their own pieces into the mix, PacSun’s goal is to provide a range and options to best explore personality and individual style during that prime transitory period in a person’s life.

Best way to allow that exploration? The inclusion of not only men, women, and kids’ sections, but also a unisex category for those who don’t wish to submit themselves to a label or gendered style. 

Supporting their buyers through a range in attire as well as mental health and diversity programs like PacCares, this brand’s prices reflect their quality with items sitting as low as $14 and bigger brand-name pieces (like Air Jordans) sitting upwards of $250.

#4 – MerchNow

Focusing on music first, there’s no question as to why we believe MerchNow is one of the top stores like Hot Topic. This business is all about the battle of the bands.

Not only are these guys the ones to turn to for band shirts, but they’ve got all the merch in one location. From CDs and vinyl to stickers and hats to sweaters and posters, it’s all available for over 1,000 artists

Categorizing things not only by merchandise type but also by the band/label, it’s easy for fans to track down what they’re looking for with this one. Their store has only grown in size since their 2002 launch, now supporting rock, metal, indie, and punk bands known to the masses and the hardcore fans.

Keeping all attention on the merchandise, this site doesn’t actually show any people – just products. Taking the human element out of it (who really needs to see how the shirt looks on someone else?) this site wants buyers to stare at the products, not the models. 

Maintaining attention through their reasonable prices ranging from $20 to $60 on most attire, this site really just wants hardcore fans to have a place to find new favored items. We can’t argue that mission.

#5 – Darkside

Alt-pop and punk are far from being North American only. Darkside only proves that with their British base since their launch in 1977.

This alternative store doesn’t just market to teens, but a general counterculture for those with an appreciation for rock, metal, goth, punk, and streetwear

We do have to note that they’re not too diverse in style or models, but they are openly calling for models to submit applications so this could turn around in the future and in the meantime, this niche store definitely hits the mark for those looking for the darker side of pop culture.

Providing a range of alt clothing from typical sweaters and shirts to miniskirts and belts, this clothing and accessory company handles whole wardrobes with ease. 

Everything is developed in-house based on the latest trends in counterculture to provide the most recent fads and looks at all times. From zombie and occult wear to graphic tees and slogan shirts, Darkside tries to offer a bit of everything to cover all customer interests.

We do have to give props for their ability to keep the price down despite the large selection of quality products. Their costs typically sit between $5 to $60, keeping things nice and low for the savvy buyer.

#6 – Spencer’s

Right away, we have to say the Spencer’s is more for the young adult crowd than the teens. While this brand does offer a range of graphic tees that teens would love, their product line veers into a selection of lingerie and “naughty” items that aren’t quite friendly for the younger eye. But for those 18+, go wild.

Clearly, we’re not saying Spencer’s is one of the top stores like Hot Topic for those products, but their lines of t-shirts and pop culture memorabilia measure up quite well. 

With pieces from well-known anime, Disney films, cartoon characters, and more, it’s easy to focus on a fandom and stock up accordingly with Spencer’s. Add in reasonable pricing around $20 to $90 depending on the product and it’s not a hard sell.

Alongside their dedication to humor and good times present since opening in 1947, this brand also puts forth a mission to help those around them.

Since 2008, the business has been dedicated to “preventing, education, and support of young people with cancer.” Doing good with the over $4 million they’ve made since, this brand aims to support the community they’ve built over time.

#7 – Zumiez

Zumiez joins this list from a Seattle start back in 1978. Since opening, this business has been less about counterculture as a whole and instead focuses on the world of boards. 

Skateboarders and snowboarders alike can find anything they need at Zumiez for gear, attire, and fun alternative accessories.

Beginning with a single location, this business has grown across North America to spread to hundreds of locations. Ride or die fans adore the selection of skate and snow support from this company with their selection of general attire, gear, boards, and accessories

Not only do they offer the coolest styles, but they’ve partnered with a number of brands and labels to provide crossover content with Hello Kitty and numerous anime names to customize according to interests.

Due to the range in products and passions, it makes sense that prices would match that expansive selection. From $10 items to $280 pieces, this brand offers a bit of everything to become the skate or snowboarder you wish to be. 

It doesn’t matter the age, gender, or race – this brand represents them all through sizing, selection, and models.

#8 – Forever 21

Probably one of the more popular names on this list of the top stores like Hot Topic, Forever 21 joined the crowd in 1984 as one of the top brands for the trendy. Unlike other companies we’ve mentioned, this brand isn’t focused on alternative culture, but more teen fashion in general. 

Offering a range of clothing and accessories for men and women, this brand grabs attention for their low prices on the latest styles.

Featuring a number of models from diverse backgrounds, this brand is all about the latest trends being accessible. Prices tend to sit from as low as $5 up to $110 depending on the product. Sales prices get even lower and considering how this brand exists internationally, it’s easy to find a location or ship something to just about anywhere.

We know that this one isn’t quite as closely connected via the alternative and music side of Hot Topic, but we have to give credit where it’s due. 

This brand started as a single location and spread just about everywhere with their range of men’s and womenswear for teenagers and young adults to find their own “older” style and adjust accordingly as they grow. We have to give props to them looking out.

#9 – Tilly’s 

Not only does Tilly’s deliver on the snow and skate culture, but they bring outdoor life as a whole to the playing field. This clothing and accessory company is all about style and wellness for teens and young adults.

Alongside their clothes, stickers, and accessories, this brand actually provides a way to keep healthy through their outdoor selections.

Skateboarding, snowboarding, and general outdoor wellness are highly emphasized with Tilly’s. This California-born business learned to appreciate the sun from a young age and as such pushes the next generation to keep it up. 

From yoga and hiking to camping, biking, and surfing, there’s isn’t much this brand doesn’t offer surrounding the outdoors.

Due to their extensive selection of products, prices vary depending on the piece. Clothing tends to sit between $5 to $230, but skateboards, paddleboards, and snowboards can get as high as $1,000

No matter what customers are searching for, these quality products deliver on style and substance through the US.

#10 – iHeartRaves

Another one for the 18+ category, iHeartRaves really speaks of their motivation in name alone. Encouraging self-expression and creativity through clothing, this brand is all about festival attire and making the best of every situation. 

Rave clothes, EDM, EDC, it doesn’t matter what type of venue you’re headed to – this brand wants to help create classic outfits that add to the environment to help everyone have a great time.

Inspiring confidence with every item, this brand was born in 2011 to bring fun and fashion to the party. Featuring not only bright, flashy, and bold designs but also darker pieces, iHeartRaves just wants people to be comfortable in what they’re wearing to have the best time possible. 

From “boho to techno to fairy,” it’s all about fitting the personality of the individual more than the scene around them.

We have to give this brand respect for their selection of sizing in clothing and models. Showing a diverse crowd in their marketing, iHeartRaves really preaches that any size, shape, race, and gender can party with the best of them and deserves the clothing to do so. 

From $10 to $95, they don’t want people breaking the budget. All this brand wants is great times with friends in confident clothing.

#11 – Rockabilia

Rock and metal fans – we’ve found the top shop for merch: Rockabilia. This brand has been on the market for over 30 years and collected the largest selection of memorabilia in the game.

All licensed and above board, these quality shirts, stickers, jackets, posters, and more make some of the best gifts for music lovers in life.

With an active blog on the top albums and sales, this company knows how to build a community. Strong fans form the foundation for this one, selling products for men, women, children, home, décor, novelties, and accessories. Who said band shirts were the only way to go?

From jackets and jewelry to bottoms and badges, there’s something for every price range here. Grab a few $5 items to show that love or be a big spender with a $250 silk jacket.

There’s no judgment or limitations here – it’s all about sharing passion anywhere in the world. 

#12 – RebelsMarket

We’re ending our list of stores like Hot Topic with a rebellious classic: RebelsMarket. Aiming for edgy, cool, and casual, there’s nothing about this brand that would insult them more than being referred to as “normal.” 

Highlighting unique styles and senses, RebelsMarket encourages creativity through their pieces to really bring home the importance of self-expression.

Focusing on all “outsiders,” this brand is big on goth, punk, metal, and rock, but also delves into the worlds of skating, steampunk, clubbing, and streetwear. There’s really nothing this brand doesn’t cover which makes them a great international source to have on hand. 

Mix and match looks in one location with the assurance that fit and comfort are always key.

Despite the wide range in styles, prices remain pretty consistent across the board with pieces going from $5 to $95. The bigger the piece, the bigger the price – seems fair, right?

Everyone feels like an outsider at some point in their lives. Whether through isolation due to passions, style, interests, or academics, there’s always something pushing us to feel alone. 

Rather than leave those individuals to their own course, Hot Topic (and similar locations) creates a community of like-minded people where everyone is not only praised for their passions but provided the means to show off that love through memorabilia and merchandise.

Stores like Hot Topic gain traction as they market towards those who feel as though they have no place in society or mainstream culture. Focusing on the underdog, these shops encourage self-expression in the teen and young adult years. 

Everyone feels lost, looking to find who they truly are. The best way to find out comes through trial and error – embracing the passions and styles we feel comfortable in.

Popularity comes from giving a safe space to everyone to show them that they aren’t weird for liking a certain style, show, or genre. There are others out there who feel the same. It’s not just about the clothes, it’s about the community.

Which Stores like Hot Topic are the Closest in Comparison?

While all of the stores we’ve listed have a range of clothing available, there’s more to Hot Topic than just attire. In fact, the best stores like Hot Topic tend to work with either music or pop culture guiding their goal.

In terms of music, MerchNow and Rockabilia are definitely the frontrunners for a close comparison. Both brands focus their whole businesses around the interest, offering merchandise from thousands of bands at low prices.

It’s almost a challenge to find rock and metal bands not included in the endless listings these companies provide.

As for pop culture, we’re going Spencer’s on this one. Now, they do veer away with their more adult content, but Spencer’s has a great selection of pop culture pieces from anime to Disney to gaming to horror to TV and more. 

With hats, bags, wallets, and endless other accessories to choose from, it’s easy to let the fandom flag fly with Spencer’s.

Which Stores like Hot Topic are the Most Affordable?

Prices really depend on what’s being shopped for. Stores like Hot Topic tend to run a similar range.

In the case of most of these brands, there’s a wide spectrum of costs from as low as $5 to as high as $1,100. Material really runs the cost, so standard cotton items will fall to the lower end of the list while the quality silk fabrics sit higher.

We do have to highlight Darkside here though as their whole range sits between $5 to $60. That’s the smallest range of any brand on this list, so we really have to appreciate them keeping all costs reasonable no matter the product.

Final Thoughts

We’ll be honest, no one ever truly outgrows love for certain styles, fandoms, and bands. Even past their prime, the sense of nostalgia will keep that warm glow going

So, why not give in and support the cause through a shirt? Whether it’s through Hot Topic or one of the 12 businesses we’ve listed, there’s an endless range of options to find the right fit in style and props.

A bit of research can narrow down the options to find the brand that holds the style and stock you’re looking for. Heavy metal or Disney characters – it doesn’t matter what the love is as long as you truly appreciate it. 

Be confident in your passions and don’t let the interest die just because some argue something isn’t cool. There are others out there who will love that subject just as much, and they’ll be proud to find someone else who fits with them. 

Stop, shop, and roll towards some of our other lists of store alternatives:

Stores Like Shein

Stores Like Princess Polly

Stores Like Anthropologie

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