Thursday, April 19, 2012

You think you're different? Think again

Hipster (also referred to as scenesters[1]) is a term frequently used to refer to a subculture of young, recently settled urban middle class adults and older teenagers. Usage of the term reappeared in the 1990s and persists to the present. The subculture is associated with independent music, a varied non-mainstream fashion sensibility, and alternative lifestyles. Interests in media would include independent film, magazines such as Vice and Clash, and websites like Pitchfork Media.

In a Huffington Post article entitled "Who's a Hipster?," Julia Plevin argues that the "definition of 'hipster' remains opaque to anyone outside this self-proclaiming, highly-selective circle." She claims that the "whole point of hipsters is that they avoid labels and being labeled. However, they all dress the same and act the same and conform in their non-conformity" to an "iconic carefully created sloppy vintage look."

Dan Fletcher in Time seems to support this theory, positing that stores like Urban Outfitters have mass-produced hipster chic, merging hipsterdom with parts of mainstream culture, thus overshadowing its originators' still-strong alternative art and music scene.

Yup, you've seen there around before. If you hang out long enough in malls or browse clothes in highstreet label stores then you would know what kind of fashion that I am talking about - the hipster. Everyone is guilty up to a certain extend of following fashion in their effort to be seen as special but almost ended up looking like everyone else.

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We are most guilty in advertising - but then it should be in our nature as well to be intune with the latest - always trying on fashion and dress like nobody else in the office building (you do stand out if you are 30something decked in Topshop that caters to kids in a lift of accountants and lawyers in downtown KL)and in vain being different yet same same. I have them here in my office, all trying to wear shorts, unsure if it's compensation for the lack of creativity or a case of trying too hard. After all, we are already always in our jeans. Shorts? Pushing it too far even for me.

But I suppose this culture of dressing up as hipster, with Hipstamatic meets Instagram and vintage furniture/yardsale/fleamarket has alot to do with the influences from street style blogs that started out being bored of stylised editorial that seems cold and impossible until people realise that fashion is possible, especially if and when people on the street is caught wearing them. Of course little do they know that nowadays people dress up like crazy Gaga gone wrong just to get a chance to be featured on the prominent blogs. The more famous personality would always get clothes and accesories for free, nothing vintage and different there. It's all commercialised. So much for being real and natural eh?

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Of course no one really think that much about what they are wearing and all, which is why most of them just follow the trend. And to a certain extend, it's ok. I got real scared when I saw this picture of a 40-something (no offence girl, you look good)and I can so see myself in the future, not very young but still trying to be a hipster. That was really a wake up call. I mean this girl looks fine but there's something not very natural about the whole thing. Almost seems forced. And not very age appropriate. And looked about just like everyone in a flea market in Jaya One.

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So, yes. The real hipster should be the one who reject the very idea of being a hipster. If everyone is going this way, it's better to find another way. After all, thats what we do in our line of work. Being different not because of the sake of being different but because it's important to be different. With so many brands out there, we need to work out how to make our client's product stand out and ultimately different from the rest. I guess that's why we all love to be different than the rest then.

FYI, the best 'hipster' I've known is my ECD - he doesn't wear Topman with Paul Smith stripe socks and try to smoke a pipe but rather always get caught in almost never white unironed shirt matched with cargo pants with holes and army cap with a lanyard plasted with his kids stickers and some Catholic religious memorabila thrown in here and there for measure. And he still fights for the same fights the believed when he was young - doing good for people. And that's true effortless personal style and a true hipster in spirit and flesh.

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