hot topic isn't any different from any other store because it still is a store. however, there are a lot more down to earth people at hot topic that i have met than i did at abercrombie & fitch or hollister.
Their logic is also completely flawed in the fact that because Hot Topic's prices are somewhat low (well compared to many mall stores) and many teens have an urge to be "different" many teenagers shop there, thus making it the same "clone-wear" that people who wear "trendy" labels are classified as.
So basically what I'm trying to say is, wear what you think is cool and don't judge others on what they choose to wear. If you think your any more original (or better as some people think) wearing X brand instead of Y brand then your only fooling yourself and making yourself look arrogant.
Hot Topic is a punkfest!
Hot Topic is a store, you assholes!!