The Truth About Hipsters
Last weekend, local councils reported an unexpected surge in the amount of refuse they had to collect from areas populated by young wealthy adults. To the surprise of the bin men, most of the rubbish bags were full of Ray Bans and Darwin Deez promo CD’s. OK, I just made that up, but you can bet that millions of Hipsters around the country have quietly disposed of their eyewear after seeing this.
People love laughing at anyone or anything that looks unusual; it’s a bi-product of a culture that’s now so homogonous that genuine points of difference scare the living daylights out of them. But Hipsters are no longer unusual. Large tracts of East London, for example, look like a post apocalyptic scene where only men with moustaches and carrot jeans have survived. No, it’s not the clothes or the bikes or the haircuts that make Hipsters so funny, it’s that they must do it all so publically, with every studied detail of their lives on display.
This is the New Exhibitionism: the psychological compulsion to float around independent coffee bars looking like a French onion seller in a desperate bid to attract attention to oneself.
Hipster exhibitionism is the non-verbal communication of two very confused messages – that they are creative and they are different. And the reason why people are laughing at them is because Hipsters are quite clearly neither of those things.
Lets deal with the creative bit first. Looking creative isn’t the same as being creative. Aspiring opinion formers would be surprised to learn that the people doing the jobs they envy mostly look like this. I remember the first time I walked in to a meeting at The Face; I was worried I’d be the worst dressed person in the building. No chance; the girls on the fashion desk were dressed for the dump; the music guys, permanently on DT hangovers, were unapproachable on account of the smell; and the editors, well they were carrying so much weight on their shoulders, they could barely make it in wearing matching shoes. Properly useful people are too busy making things happen to worry about Double Denim.
Which brings us to being different. It’s not possible to be different wearing a trend that’s so popular, it has its own name. And you can’t be different when the tribe you so desperately want to join only accepts you if you’re wearing a uniform. Especially when the uniform is manufactured in the millions by companies with stores on every high street across the land. This is not authenticity. It is conformity.
So who are these people that have endless time and money to cut the armpits out of t-shirts, buy nice stickers for their bikes and stand outside vintage stores comparing notes? Its rich, white middle class kids, whose parents buy them comfy two bedroom flats in up and coming university towns while they fanny around writing dissertations on Banksy for their media degree.
Every ten years or so, the mainstream – Retailers, PR people and their middle class kids – catches up with youth culture which very quickly makes everything over-populated and shit. This is what’s happening right now with Hipsters. It’s a good thing, because regeneration weeds out the chancers and creates room for something new to grow.
If you’re sat reading this in a public space populated by people under 35, and you feel like the only person not wearing a checked shirt, the message is this: your time will soon come. It’ll come at the exact point when the knobs who spend more time perfecting their headgear – as opposed to their talent – will join their parents as foot soldiers of the mainstream. Leaving the door open for you to do something properly interesting. Because the truth about exhibitionism is that the people who shout the loudest have never got anything worthwhile to say.