Tag Archives: 60’s

Hipster Retroism and Its Inner Irony (Part 1)

This is such a gorgeously hipster video, I can’t even believe it.  I’m in hypsterics.  But let’s take a closer look at what makes this video so distinctly hipster.  Observe the bright neon colors under a faded vintage filter.  Look at all the retro overtones, including oversized glasses, high-waisted bottoms, a 50’s era automobile, and a polaroid camera.

Hipsters love 20th century media technology.  Records, polaroids, VCRs, tapes, film, typewriters, box TV sets, early telephones, anything oversized and inconvenient that will remind them of a time before they were even born.  I suppose a hipster’s memory can date back to when they were single-celled organisms, because they seem to feel nostalgia for things not even their parents were alive to remember.

Why do we hipsters do this?  Why do the styles of the last three generations have such a powerful appeal to the current hipster era?  There could be many reasons.  For example, this type of clothing and accessories can easily and cheaply be found at thrift stores.  But I think this 1900’s aesthetic goes deeper than a frugal fashion statement.  Sam Stilson has observed this tendency in the youth of the 21st century and provided some interesting insight about it in his article.

Sam, describing the style as “ironically safe”, says, “Another major drawing point to recycling old styles is that if you can’t actually pull off the look, you can always rest safely behind an ‘ironically cool’ stance.  The passage of time allows everything to be looked at objectively, including fashion.  Therefore, if you know you look stupid in a derby hat, but wear it anyway, through irony or perhaps reverse psychology, some people will think you’re cool.  Or so we’re led to believe.  It’s all pretty ridiculous, but that’s what it has come to in some pockets of modern society.  So bringing back ridiculous clothing and grooming styles (think anything from the 80s) is relatively safe if you’re doing it with a subtle wink in your eye and hanging around like-minded, ironically cool people [–also known as hipsters].”

Sam has nailed it.  This is the main reason we have embraced this style, and unsurprisingly, it revolves around irony.  However, I’ve observed an even deeper, subconcious reason that also shows us an even more powerful, underlying irony that I will explore in my next blog.


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