I think of fashion as just something that isn’t dumb—yet. In other words, I think of fashion like a celebrity’s idea of a romantic relationship—something nice to look at until something else comes along. Sometimes my wife will ask me for my fashion advice.
The fashion choice selected in the “Age of Hipster” seems to be “All of the above.” Eighties leggings meets ’90s flannel, meets ’70s hair, meets ’50s glasses, and so on.
I remember the “Hippie Day” in elementary school where children under 10 years of age would walk around dressed like some commie-loving, drug induced, anti-establishment, free-loving, bath-needing, counter-culturalists in their iconic garb of bandanas, bell bottoms, flowers and peace signs, much to the delight of the middle-aged ladies who opened our milk cartons.
We didn’t know what the ’60s were about, and a lot of us my age probably still don’t. But I think something about it stuck with us. Maybe the style now is just an appreciation for all those “Spirit Days” in elementary school. Maybe its all just ironic, or maybe there is just so much fashion that we’ve been through that we’re just exhausted and don’t care anymore. I am guessing it is “All of the Above.”
Its not just clothing fashion but music fashion that seems to be on the same trajectory of the multi-genre approach. There have always been “Hipster” bands that were throwbacks to different eras of music. Stray Cats doing ’50s rock ‘n’ roll in the ’80s, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy doing ’20s Swing music in the ’90s and The White Stripes doing bluesy ’40s riffs in the 2000s. It seems to be something repeating throughout the decades that music just keeps remixing and sampling itself. All aspects of creative expression seem to follow these same patterns.
I had the pleasure of learning about the Renaissance this semester, which seemed to be a period of blossoming human achievement in the arts. There is art from that era which is particular to the time, but there is an underlying theme to it that it is a throwback to the Greek and Roman Classicism which happened hundreds of years before the Renaissance.
Perhaps, the da Vincis and Raphaels were really just the first hipsters who decided that retro was cooler than what was happening at the present and wanted to pay homage and build off the beauty from an earlier time. Like in the Renaissance, art is constantly building off of the original to make something new—it is still creative. The cultural referencing in art and fashion seems to be speeding up with the advent of the Internet. Even Holga photography has come back in style thanks to Instagram.
So, with all these cultural references going on in the age of “Hipster,” I tell my wife what I tell myself: “With a smug confidence, it will work.” Why? Who knows? Maybe confidence is just the one thing that never goes out of fashion.