This is just navel-gazing, but indulge me anyway…
Deebot: So i was reading up on being a Hipster in the context of contemporary subculture, and found out that the original hipsters have a lot of disdain for the Modern Hipster because they’re not driven by any philosophy. They just appropriate various cultures.
Parsons Boy: That’s called postmodernism.
Placed in this context, are Hipsters just another bunch of Postmodernists? Do hipsters have a claim on being alternative/indie/countercultural/subversive after all?
Well, like Parsons Boy said, “everything’s pomo these days anyway”.
(I told you this was navel-gazing.)
But that’s the funny thing about cultures (or countercultures, for that matter) that try to rebel against conformity. Isn’t it a bit self-defeating when non-conformity itself is a culture, and by extension, a cultural standard?
That’s why all the talk these days about “individuality” and “individual expression” in fashion is sometimes pretty laughable.
I mean, if we were so individual to begin with, then why do trends exist?
While we’re not here to dissect how trends take off, we’re here to investigate the basic premises of trends existing.
Since fashion allows individuals to communicate visually within their societies, then in order for communication to be effective, we have to use benchmarks of understanding- a language, if you will.
In simple terms, this means we need to speak a common visual language through our clothes to be comprehensible to others. That common language, in terms of fashion, is trends.
Trends are culturally accepted phenomena. Taking part in trends means you don’t have to explain why you’re wearing that high-waisted skirt or that pair of ankle boots. You are immediately comprehensible, understood by others.
Trends make you “one of us”, or “one of them”. You meet with so much less resistance from the masses when you’re “one of us”. Trends minimize “crowd resistance” in that the masses are less likely to question you.
Trends offer Identity Insurance– that is, insurance against a sort of Public Inquisition of The Self.
Therein lies the irony of fashion. Fashion espouses individuality, yet magazines, designers, and mass-market retailers work in a concerted effort to condense our choices into a list of “what’s hot this season”.
Fashion promotes individual expression, but only as Identity Insurance (i.e., trends) permits.
Fashion is at odds with itself.