There are some articles I read (or listened to) from the last two weeks I would like to share. The topics vary although the three of them have one topic: fashion. Trends in fashion and thereby culture. Something I am interested in. The articles deal with patterns you can currently recognize in our culture, no matter where you are. Maybe I become a fashion blogger now, at least for this one post.
Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization
The first article was published on adbusters.com. It deals with the topic “hipster”. I like the story of Douglas Haddow. He compares the hipster with different youth movements like hip hop or punk and, as the title implies, Haddow is not that happy about this cultural “achievement”:
An artificial appropriation of different styles from different eras, the hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture lost in the superficiality of its past and unable to create any new meaning. Not only is it unsustainable, it is suicidal. While previous youth movements have challenged the dysfunction and decadence of their elders, today we have the “hipster” – a youth subculture that mirrors the doomed shallowness of mainstream society. […] Punks wear their tattered threads and studded leather jackets with honor, priding themselves on their innovative and cheap methods of self-expression and rebellion. B-boys and b-girls announce themselves to anyone within earshot with baggy gear and boomboxes. But it is rare, if not impossible, to find an individual who will proclaim themself a proud hipster. It’s an odd dance of self-identity – adamantly denying your existence while wearing clearly defined symbols that proclaims it.
It’s an interesting perception and so true. People do a lot to look, behave or sound like a hipster but no one wants to be called a hipster. It’s a movement without a real statement or worst – if the statement is just “I don’t care”, then Haddow is right and we are doomed.
Normcore: Fashion for Those Who Realize They’re One in 7 Billion
Johannes tweeted about the article on The Cut – the fashion part of the nymag.com. Normcore, yeah right. Two words that describe something contrary, an oxymoron. Norm describes something average. But core is something extreme, something straight to the point. So, here we have now the extreme average. The thing is, that I have no idea what the exact difference between normcore and hipster is. Also, if you take a look at the photos in the article of Fiona Duncan I cannot even see a difference. But nonetheless, it’s fun and entertaining to read.
Normcore—it was funny, but it also effectively captured the self-aware, stylized blandness I’d been noticing. Brad’s source for the term was the trend forecasting collective (and fellow artists) K-Hole. They had been using it in a slightly different sense, not to describe a particular look but a general attitude: embracing sameness deliberately as a new way of being cool, rather than striving for “difference” or “authenticity.” In fashion, though, this manifests itself in ardently ordinary clothes. Mall clothes. Blank clothes. The kind of dad-brand non-style you might have once associated with Jerry Seinfeld, but transposed on a Cooper Union student with William Gibson glasses.
Die Zeitreise – Heritage Tricks
The title already reveals it, this one is a German article from the magazine BrandEins. And I must admit I didn’t even read it, but I listened to it. There is this nice feature where you can let the magazine be read to you. It’s about the current movement in general, but especially in fashion, that everything with a certain history or heritage is good. For me this is a movement or development I like. It goes into the direction of “conscious consumption” and “conscious production”. People care for things. But there is one part where I don’t agree with Harald Willenbrock. It is not only about the history of the company or product, it’s about the story. Both similar words (even the same in German “Geschichte”) but the latter one doesn’t need a temporal reference. There are brands popping up, that just have great stories to tell. Where they come from, why they started, why they think their product is good, how much they care, etc. Just one example: VOR. VOR produces sneakers. Hand made, expensive but incredibly beautiful and made with passion:
“PERFECTION IS THE BASE. PREMIUM SUBSTANCE A MUST. EXECUTION AT ITS FINEST. DETAILIN’ FREAKS. IN LOVE WITH AUTHENTIC CLASSICS. EXTREME ENTHUSIASM. TIMELESS AVANT-GARDE. ORIGINATE ENDURING BEAUTIES.”
The Listener is synonymous with intelligent brands that stand out with their quality, timelessness and high standards on design and workmanship. Direct communication helps people and products to move forward. After all, only the really important moments in life happen as a result of social interaction.
While I was there, I talked to a guy about a denim for 1 hour. He explained to me why they sell it, why they support the brand, etc. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? You have to decide. For me it is.
Three articles, three different movements – one topic: culture or more precisely fashion. Things like hipster or normcore are just there to pigeonhole people. But movements like conscious consumption is something I totally get into. I care for the food I eat, the music I listen, the clothes I wear, the place I live in. So, it better should be manufactured and produced well otherwise I am fooling myself.