Thursday, October 26, 2006

Perhaps the best hipsterism resource ever!

Jeremy just sent me this - it's a self-described preppie guy wanting suggestions for putting together a Halloween costume as a "hipster".

I want to return to this (and also, just to bookmark it with this post), but my initial thoughts are that this is a really rich resource for articulating the discursive figure of the 'hipster'; that is, the imaginary person who comes to mind when you think of hipsters, regardless of the tastes and activities of real people.

Second, it's notable as a survey of the style motifs that are most commonly associated with hipsterism. Many of these things (for example, the idea that a hipster's clothes must be much tighter than a preppie's) might seem simple and self-explanatory, but the fact that they're offered here in a pedagogical context highlights that they actually require cultural capital to make them that way.

Third, it reveals the hazy space between trends and stereotypes. When, for example, does wearing a bandanna around your neck stop being 'in fashion' (something that signifies only 'in-the-momentness') and start saying wider things about the person wearing it, for example that they are the sort of person who pays close attention to fleeting and arbitrary fashions? To put it more bluntly, when do style motifs begin to do their discursive work to create the figure of the 'hipster'? Are they always-already signs of hipsterdom, or do they become that way through the passage of time, or the processes of irony?

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