Stereotypes are a strange thing. How do they come about? What goes on between an individual and their attachment to a certain sub-culture? I’m not sure about you, but these are the roughed up questions I ask myself during those few philosophical minutes before falling asleep. Personally, I am not sure that stereotypes are set in stone; there is always some sort of overlap between them, usually created by sub-cultural role models who blend between these beloved (and sometimes bold) stereotype labels, but as a culture – we love a good branding.
So we’ve heard of the generic stereotypes, hipsters, hippies, skaters and surfers, but what happens when these style stereotypes merge together? This is the dilemma I have been facing as of late, placing the nomads of subculture into one particular stream. The hipster used to simply describe someone who cared about literature, alternative music (so alternative that ‘regular’ people hadn’t heard it before), and dressed in op-shop finds – something that these days may just reside within a General-Pants store. The hippy was an earth-lovin’, yoga-lovin’ vegetarian being, who dwelled heavily in hemp and tye-dye, whilst the skater and the surfer were somewhat similar with their beached up hair, tanned skin and ruthlessly chilled attitude. Today however, we can find a multitude of guys and gals who dress like a hipster, ride a skateboard, smoke plants, drink soy milk and eat within a strict non-meat diet. WHAT IS GOING ON? Is this just a clash of cultures, or something more?
Fashion has always been something that compliments one’s identity through self-expression, one of the defining reasons as to how we got our selves into this stereotyping dilemma in the first place… Consequently, if we start to blend trends and styles, the stereotypes become a victim of this mix up too. Nowadays, we have this strange mix of styles going on, staging the war between the hipsters leaning toward hippies for inspiration, the hippies leaning toward the surfers for their chilled vibes and love of nature, and the surfers leaning toward the hipsters for that alternative-environmental-something or other that has essentially been taken from them in the first place.
Not only can we see these new found style trends emerging within everyday life, but it has also been spotted on a number of blogs, and of course – the runway. Designers such as Vanishing Elephant tackled cross-cultural fashion trends with their latest ready-to-wear collection, mixing beach-come-board shorts with clean-cut blazers, quirky prints teamed with leather and denim, and cute socks paired with skate shoes. Vanishing Elephant’s collection is a perfect mix between pattern and plain, which is presented as a blend of casual and dressed-to-impress, perfectly exemplifying this mix of style and identity.
As we see these type of trends descend into the world of runway fashion, it has also been noted by a number of YouTube sensations such as Australia’s own ‘Bondi Hipsters’. Dom and Adrian are two Sydney slickers who live in Bondi, seeing their fair share of these cross sub-cultural trends. The pair decided to describe their experiences in the best way they know how, satirical YouTube videos (and thank god they did!). The videos are a perfect depiction of this stereotype mash, and can be seen here:
So, what does this mean for these new-coming fashion trends fueled by the needs of particular post-modern stereotypes? The world of fashion that supplies style for all individuals part of a sub-culture (such as the hipster), will more than likely be a forever changing market, conforming with the ever changing needs of the individuals and their peers.