Saturday, June 28, 2014

The End Of The Hipster?

Meet Josh. 

Josh is a 30-year-old artist/chef who lives in a converted warehouse in Hackney, east London. Josh has a beard, glasses and cares about the provenance of his coffee. He pays his tax, doesn't have a 9-to-5 job and, along with his five polymathic flatmates, shuns public transport, preferring to ride a bike.

On paper, Josh is the archetypal hipster – just don't call him one: "I don't hate the word hipster, and I don't hate hipsters, but being a hipster doesn't mean anything any more. So God forbid anyone calls me one."

At some point in the last few years, the hipster changed. Or at least its definition did. What was once an umbrella term for a counter-culture tribe of young creative types in (mostly) New York's Williamsburg and London's Hackney morphed into a pejorative term for people who looked, lived and acted a certain way. The Urban Dictionary defines hipsters as "a subculture of men and women, typically in their 20s and 30s, that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics". In reality, the word is now tantamount to an insult.

So what happened? Chris Sanderson, futurologist and co-founder of trend forecasting agency The Future Laboratory, thinks it's simple: "The hipster died the minute we called him a hipster. The word no longer had the same meaning."

Fuelling this was a report last month from researchers at the University of New South Wales who discovered that the hipster look was no longer "hip". In short: the more commonplace a trend – in one instance, beards – the less attractive they are perceived to be. And in 2014 we may have reached "peak beard". Could it be that the flat-white-drinking, flat-cap-wearing hipster will soon cease to exist?

Sanderson thinks it's more a case of evolving than dying. Talking to The Observer last week, he suggested there are now two types of hipster: "Contemporary hipsters – the ones with the beards we love to hate – and proto-hipsters, the real deal." And herein lies the confusion.

"Historically, proto-hipsters have been connoisseurs – people who deviate from the norm. Like hippies. Over the years, though, they inspired a new generation of young urban types who turned the notion of a hipster into a grossly commercial parody. These new hipsters want to appear a certain way, to be seen to be doing certain things, but without doing the research. So they appropriated the lifestyle and mindset of a proto-hipster."

It's a definition neatly summarised in the song Sunday, by Los Angeles rapper Earl Sweatshirt: "You're just not passionate about half the shit that you're into."

The problem is that it is now almost impossible to differentiate between the two. "Hipsters are more interested in following; proto-hipsters are more interested in leading. Yet they look the same, so how are people to know the difference?"

This lack of visual disparity has probably led to society's fondness for hipster-bashing. As Alex Miller, UK editor-in-chief of Vice, explains: "I couldn't define a hipster. I guess it's 'The Other'. But as a general term it's blown up because people finally realised they had a word to mock something cool and young which they didn't understand."

It's an age-old scenario. In Distinction, his 1979 report on the social logic of taste, French academic Pierre Bourdieu wrote that "social identity lies in difference, and difference is asserted against what is closest, which represents the greatest threat". So our inability to define a hipster merely fuels the enigma.

"And as you can imagine, this is greatly exasperating to proto-hipsters," says Sanderson.

It hasn't always been like this. While the definition of hipster hasn't altered vastly over the years, there was a time when it was considered to be something both meaningful and specific.
The word was coined in the 1940s to define someone who rejected societal norms – such as middle-class white people who listened to jazz. Then came a reactive literary subculture, realised through the work of beatniks such as Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. It was Norman Mailer who attempted to define hipsters in his essay The White Negro as postwar American white generation of rebels, disillusioned by war, who chose to "divorce oneself from society, to exist without roots, to set out on that uncharted journey into the rebellious imperatives of the self".

A decade later, we had the counter-culture movement – hippies who carried their torch in a fairly self-explanatory fashion, divorced from the mainstream. The word mostly vanished until the 1990s, when it was redefined so as to describe middle-class youths with an interest in "the alternative".

In the "noughties", hipsters became the stuff of parody, via Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker's satire Nathan Barley, which earmarked the "twats of Shoreditch". Nowadays, though, anyone can appear to be a hipster provided they buy the right jeans. From the twee adverts featuring hipster-style couples to the cocktails served in jam jars at the trendy incomer bar the Albert in EastEnders, "the idea of the hipster has been swallowed up by the mainstream", says Sanderson.

Luke O'Neil, a Boston-based culture writer for the online magazine Slate,says it is the same in the US. "I've even noticed what I call the meta-hipster: a person who sidesteps the traditional requirements and just wants to skip ahead to the status. Like putting on glasses and getting a tattoo somehow makes you a hipster," he says.

But while Miller agrees that hipster has morphed into a negative term, it is less about the word and more about what it represents: "Growing up, we just used other words – 'scenester' at university, 'trendies' at school – and they mean the same. Hipster has simply become a word which means the opposite of authentic."

Not everyone agrees. At Hoxton Bar and Grill in east London, 24-year-old graduate Milly identifies with hipsters: "I mean, that's why we all live in east London. It just feels so real, like something creative and cool is happening."

Manny, a 28-year-old singer who has lived in Dalston for more than five years, likes the sense of community: "Young people haven't got jobs or work and they need it. It's like a tribe, like goths. I hope hipsters aren't dead, because I just signed a year lease on my flat."

Miller adds: "We've never written about hipsters as a subculture at Vice because I don't think hipsters are a subculture. However, I do appreciate that people like the idea of belonging to something, so I suppose on that level the idea exists." As O'Neil explains: "Whoever said [hipsters] wanted to be unique? I think it's more about wanting to belong."

So what next? "I think hipsters will have an overhaul. There will be a downturn in this skinny-jean, long-haired feminised look over the next few years owing to the rise of the stronger female role model," says Chris Sanderson." And in its place? "A more macho look, almost to the point of caricature, in a bid for men to reinforce their identity."

Perhaps this explains the phenomenon of "normcore", a term coined by New York trend agency K-Hole in their Youth Mode report last autumn. Though widely derided by the fashion world, this plain, super-normal style is arguably a reaction to the commodification of individuality, the idea that you can buy uniqueness off the peg in Topshop. "Normcore doesn't want the freedom to become someone," they say. "Normcore moves away from a coolness that relies on difference to a post-authenticity that opts into sameness."

It sounds like a joke but, says Sanderson, it might actually might be a thing: "It's the opposite of what people think is hip now, but it's also very masculine – which ties in to the return to blokeiness."

But for many, including Josh, the desire to categorise people is infuriating. Arvida Byström is a Swedish-born, London-based artist, photographer and model. Though sometimes identified as a hipster aesthetically speaking, her work, which focuses on sexuality, self-identity and contemporary feminism, would suggest she is much more than that. Sanderson would describe her as "someone who leads not follows".

She balks at the idea of being a hipster: "I haven't been aware of people calling me a hipster. I certainly don't identify as one. What is a hipster, anyway? It is such a general term. I don't even know if they exist any more."

But as Josh says: "I don't see why you can't just be a guy in east London liking the stuff that's around without being branded as something."

10 Signs You’re Meant For Something Bigger On Earth

Do you ever feel like you’re destined for something bigger? That you’re not making the most of your time here? That you’re stuck in a rut despite trying your damnedest to find your way out?

You’re not alone.

Most of us yearn for something bigger and better in our lives. It’s part of being human. And if the following signs describe you, there’s a good chance you have great things to look forward to in your future.

You’re never satisfied with “good enough.”

If you think you’re meant for something bigger, chances are you’re the type of person who goes above and beyond. You don’t settle for mediocrity. You don’t accept the status quo. And you definitely want to be the best in everything you do.

You’re not afraid to take risks.

Great leaders, thinkers, entrepreneurs, and game-changers embrace failure and learn from their mistakes. It’s a harsh truth, but if you don’t take risks in life, you’ll never reach great heights.

You take action when you feel inspired.

It’s okay if you tend to put things off until you’re really inspired. People who are meant for something bigger know when to make calculated decisions and when to take action. They let a combination of intuition and analysis guide their decision-making. And most of the time it results in good decisions.

You love what you do so much you’d do it for free.
People who accomplish great things in life do what they love and love what they do … so much so that they would do it for free. That’s because they know they’ll get paid to do what they love eventually, which leads to our next sign …

You’re an entrepreneur at heart.

People who are meant for something bigger find ways to work for themselves. They often feel constrained while working for someone else. Even if they work for a company they don’t love, they find ways to do work on the side that helps them get closer to their goals.

You’re a true optimist.
Are you filled with hope and optimism about the future? People who are meant for something bigger are. Choose to look on the bright side and see the glass as half full.

You’re able to focus your efforts on your best ideas.
Highly successful people have a lot of ideas but they don’t get bogged down by them. If you think you’re meant for something bigger, honestly evaluate which ideas you spend the most time on. If you find you’re wasting time on trivial tasks that aren’t getting you anywhere, ask yourself one important question: will doing this get me closer to finding my purpose?

You dream big.
Do you aspire to do great things? Do you want to change the world? If so, this is one of the biggest signs you’re meant to do great things. Harness that energy and take action every day to make it happen. You don’t have to be perfect. Focus on repetition and making small progress.
You seek new knowledge every day.
People who are destined for greatness are lifelong learners. They seek knowledge in books, on the Internet, and through conversation with intelligent people. The fact that you’re reading this article is testament to the fact that you’re a knowledge-seeker.

You go out of your way to help others, even when it’s inconvenient to you.

Want to know the surest sign you’re meant for something bigger on this planet? It’s having the courage to go out of your way to help other people … without expecting anything in return. Do good deeds and help people less fortunate than you. When you give, you get. That’s what life is all about: putting your stamp on the world by making a difference in the lives of others.

Monday, June 23, 2014







Sunday, June 22, 2014


What (I Think) Bangalore Needs To Make It A Global City - 1 Of Many

I came across this amazing e-mag site this morning "Toronto Life" and spent quite a bit of time browsing through and getting infused with how life in the city of Toronto flows. I've always heard a lot about Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver through a significant portion of my family who had boarded the Canada Immigration bandwagon eons ago and have very happily nestled into the high life of their respected micro geographies and what always amazed me was that these places are a bustling cauldron of ethnicities, cultures, customs and ways of life which have blended and flavoured in with the original demography and thrown out a brilliant infusion of arts and culture and music and movies and design and food and just a wonderful collage of a big city experience.

So, why can't we have the same thing in Bangalore?

Our city is a mash up of all kinds of peoples. We're 10 million and growing and we have immigrants rushing in for our way of life by the hour. I can walk around and apart from bumping into (quite literally when you think of our traffic woes) a person from every nook and corner of our beautiful country, I can see Americans from both sides of the hemisphere; Europeans from both the new and the old - Italians, French, Danes, Czechs, Bosnians; Africans - Nigerians, Kenyans, Ethiopians, and our continental bretheren - Japs, Chinese, Koreans, Thais, etc. etc. etc. etc. - you get the picture but yet we are no where on the global city map. Nor do we make it into the list of rapidly growing cities. We may just about be listed amongst the top 40 global cities by 2000 and twenty/ thirty something.

You and I will be 40 something then, brother. Forty something and unless your going to eternally young and kicking it, we need to step out now and make a grasp in calling this city our own and moulding it to what we think it should become - a global destination - a place where dreams can metamorphose into reality - something like how New York was in the late 20th/ early 21st century (am I too much of a dreamer?) .

Yes - our roads and all other related and supporting infrastructure are under various stages of development (finally!) and apart from the IT/ ITeS and its tertiary rooted off shoots which is driving our economic engine on a world scale, we need something more. Bangalore has a model IT growth footprint which other countries like Australia, England and China want to replicate and if they can be inspired by our IT business model and its economic benefits, why can't we reach out and look at their culture and how they bring everything together. It's not just economic growth which makes a city an envy of our boundary neighbours, its the people and their way of life - now that's what makes it truly and wholly wanting. Looking through the lenses of a global city trotter, we have up and coming (sub) culture - music across all genres; dance forms; a flummox of restaurants, pubs, bars and clubs; theatre and now movies; arts; architecture and design to a certain extent; photography; spirituality; (fill in whatever I've missed).

But. What am I getting at or trying to get at here?

What I want to state is that, all these little beautiful pieces of Bangalore's art and culture are strewn all across the city and place; and like one of those beautiful silk and wool patchwork quilts, some form of medium has to be the thread that brings all these pieces together and make it an enviable masterpiece.

How can we do that?

Something on the lines of Toronto Life. Check it out and let's create a mastermind group to make something like this happen - a platform to put out what Bangalore has to offer to its inhabitants and an experience for its tourists.             

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stunt 101 | Re-Cooked With Soul

To celebrate the G-Unit reunion, Cookin' Soul had to go and make an incredible laid back vibe filled remix to Stunt 101.

Welcome back Fif & The Gang!

Nick Wooster | Five's

Nickelson Wooster is a retailer, street style hero and brand ambassador for the Lardini Group. Here are his answers to his five most recent purchases, which designers are on his radar and what are his go to-items.

Five Most Recent Purchases

1. A carton of cigarettes in duty free.
2. A hemp jacket by Layer-0 that I found at Maxfield, in Los Angeles. It has the most amazing cut, sort of couture but very butch at the same time.
3. A new iPad. I bought a Mini last year, but miss the drama of the gigantic screen. And it has 128 GB.
4. A pair of Kolor shorts that are probably the most comfortable and unflattering thing I own. The construction is a work of art. They are basically a pair of size 42-waist pants that have been given a master cut-and-sew. They are the coolest thing from this season.
5. Twenty pair of J.Crew no-show socks for my trip to Italy.

Five Designers I Am Feeling Right Now

1. Ganryu, a new brand in the Comme des Garçons stable. This stuff is completely amazing, sort of sport and very well-engineered. My favorite gray pants from the spring season are from them.
2. Kolor is another amazing Japanese brand — the jackets, the pants, all so amazingly conceived.
3.Thom Browne is, in my opinion, one of the great minds in men’s wear. I always want something (or many things) of his, every single season.
4. RTH. Rene Holguin started RTH about five years ago. He is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. His two stores in L.A. are always my first stop once I get off the plane.
5. Comme des Garçons. For me, Rei Kawakubo and all in her orbit are the masters. For me, she is untouchable.

Five Go-To Items

1. White button-down shirts. Period. The end.
2. Blue button-down shirts. Ditto.
3. J.Crew no-show socks. The gray-and-white micro-polka dot are my favorites. I think I have spent $250 on them this spring alone.
4. The Triple Welt collection from Grenson. I now have their shoes in black, brown and my newest favorite, white. They are made in Northamptonshire, England, and are shockingly comfortable right out of the box.
5. Stan Smith Adidas sneakers, white with green. And the newest addition, the Raf Simons Adidas collaboration in both white and navy blue. I am crazy about the stripe across the shoe.