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When do hipster things lose their coolness and enter the mainstream? Actually, science has an answer
In some really cool new research – which, let’s be honest, you probably haven’t heard of – scientists have discovered there is a precise point at which a hipster fad tips into the mainstream, thereby losing all that made it cool in the first place.
Published in the journal Science, the study found that social trends enter the mainstream when about a quarter of the population adopts them. It could explain how activism can create tectonic shifts in public opinion, but it also just gives us an excellent excuse to ponder the current state of the “cool cliff”.
So, which trends are currently safely below the 25% cut-off, keeping their cool factor? What’s teetering on the precipice of naff, and what can we happily euthanase now it’s gone irretrievably mainstream?
So cool right now
Off-griddingIt’s difficult to begin a list of cool things with the words “Simon Cowell does it, so ... ” and expect people to muster any respect for your opinions. But while the ape-chested, flares-wearing, cuboid-headed media mogul might be untrendy in every way, his announcement last week that he hasn’t used a cellphone in 10 months is as right-on as it comes.
Going off-grid for the sake of your mental health certainly makes a lot more sense than its predecessor, “downloading an app to help you meditate”. Odd as it is, do what Simon says, be more Cowell.
Your grandmother’s favourite flowers were long considered about as hip as asbestos, and more used to serving as head-height ashtrays in pub hanging baskets than appearing anywhere stylish, but they’re now the hipster gardener’s plant of choice. London East End florist Grace and Thorn, Instagram’s most cherished edgy botanists, even brought them to the Chelsea Flower Show this year. It’s a renaissance, but will they last the season?
Dry drinking is just so now. Gin that’s 0% proof? Count the millennials in. Drinking booze-free just for the sake of it? A booming trend in Japan. All the sophistication of a real drink, but no chance of leading you into a hangover, or a kebab shop, or, come to think of it, any fun.Mo Salah
Once in a blue moon a footballer comes along who is so darn likeable that not only do opposition fans admire him, but even people with no interest in the sport perk up. Liverpool’s Egyptian sensation Salah, who scored a record 32 goals last season, is that man of the moment. He’s hard-working, smiles a lot, has a name that fits almost any chant, and is so good that Liverpool fans have promised to convert to Islam if he carries on this way.
Just about keeping their cool
To the uninitiated, these are the slip-on sandals you might wear around a swimming pool to avoid verrucas. Except now they’re everywhere, leading to a non-ironic resurgence for the standard-bearer of uncool, socks with sandals. It’s a bold step so don’t bother. They’ll be out again by Christmas.
The Handmaid's TaleThis time last year, the reaction to Hulu’s big-budget adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel was as if television itself had peaked. Elisabeth Moss’s performance was mesmerising, the subject matter was eerily prescient, and even the music was immaculately chosen. Now we’re into the second season, the praise has cooled significantly. Have people started turning Off(red)?
Portugal’s capital has been having a moment of late, and now counts Madonna and Michael Fassbender among its residents. But such is the popularity of the place for Britons as a weekend getaway, stag and hen party venue, and mainstay on “Europe’s most underrated destinations” lists, that it is now as mainstream as Malaga. (The hipsters are now going to Albania, by the way.)
Like atheists or swingers, vegans can barely get through three sentences without informing you they are, in fact, just so you know, vegans. Once, this would have elicited a reaction of “Oh, really?”, which is exactly what they want you to say. In 2018, though, when vegans are 10-a-penny, the admission gets nothing more than a shrug. You’re a vegan? Aren’t we all.
Cooled right down
SucculentsIn 2015, having a succulent or two at home was the modern equivalent of having a SodaStream in the 80s, and just about as pointless. Yet, just as those little desk cacti have taken over Instagram, they’ve also fallen off the mainstream cliff, never to return. Trade them for geraniums if you know what’s good.
The Danish term defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or wellbeing” is now 2016. What even was it again? Burning a load of candles and going to bed? You can tell the Danes invented that before the world fell apart.
UnicornsJust this week, unicorns made up a third of Argos’ top 10 toy list for 2018, which is about as clear a sign something’s gone mainstream as you can get. Millennial parents are to blame, because they always are, but there’s no denying it. Perhaps when unicorns appeared in the writings of Ctesias and Pliny the Elder they were hipsterish and new, but not now they’re a £230 electric ride-on toy, though.
French bulldogsIf you haven’t noticed the plague of French bulldogs in this country, you have obviously been spending too much time in Albania (see above, and congratulations). With their scrunched-up little faces, bow legs and “help me” eyes, French bulldogs are now the most in-demand breed in the country. Avoid, for reasons of both taste and animal welfare.
– © The Daily Telegraph