Monday, January 31, 2011

is this goodbye?

2007 was the year I started blogging and therefore, the trends/collections/etc of that time are particularly significant in my memory. In 2007 everyone was still debating over Kate Moss, obsessed with Balenciaga’s ‘Boho tec’ collection and Style Bytes was the number one style blog. While not an obsession per say, there was plenty talk about Cory Kennedy too on blogs. ‘Who?’, some might ask in 2011.

Cory was the epitome of the hipster craze that resurfaced circa the mid – late noughties. Kennedy was an ‘internet celebrity’, wild child, rich kid spotted by Mark Hunter (AKA The Cobrasnake) in September 2005. She took up an internship with Hunter and was frequently featured on The Cobrasnake website. Kennedy went on to become the face of Urban Decay cosmetics, appeared on the covers of Nylon and The New York Post, had a campaign shot by Terry Richardson, and graced the cover of the Los Angeles Times, with a several page article titled "'It Girl' Interrupted”. And if you are so inclined, you can still catch up on Cory’s...ahem...cough...not- exactly ‘It Girl’ – any - longer antics on her blog (

Cory is the perfect example of the noughties’ famous – for – doing - nothing phenomenon, but perhaps, even more interesting, is that there is something of Edie Sedgwick about her - one second she was ‘It’ and the next, well chewed up and spit out (of course, not to the same tragic extent as Edie, but there is a certain similarity in the sort of fame they both experienced). Incidentally, a snoop through her Fashion Spot thread proves to be very revealing, from early comments gushing: ‘I love this girl’, ‘Cory rocks’ ‘So glad she has her own thread’, 'I wish I was that cool when I was 16' to later comments exclaiming: ‘She looks awful’, ‘What happened?’, ’She lost her spark’, ‘She tries to hard’, ‘I pity this girl’. Indeed, a clear and rather sad indication of her fall from grace.

Cory Kennedy, for Nylon, Jack Kerouac, Edie Sedgewick, Cory with Mary Kate Olsen, Cory for Russh

Cory was the archetypical female hipster, and who’s to say that Cory’s not a hipster anymore? No one, instead rather, we’ve moved on, Cory and co. are generally not the sort of people we want to emulate any longer. The hipster subculture of the noughties was a far cry from the original hipster subculture. The term originally appeared in the 1940s, and since then has come to describe young, generally urban, middle – class people who reject mainstream culture. In the past, figures such as Jack Kerouac have been associated with the hipster movement. A 2009 Time article provides some of the best statements pertaining to the modern hipster: ‘Everything about them is exactingly constructed to give off the vibe that they just don't care.".. “ take your grandmother's sweater and Bob Dylan's Wayfarers, add jean shorts, Converse All-Stars and a can of Pabst and bam — hipster."

To a certain extent the noughties' hipster did reject the mainstream, but for most people the modern hipster trend was, and especially now, considered as a vacuous pursuit of the ‘cool’. Rejection of certain mainstream values and expectations can be commended to a degree, but their obsession with an effortless yet inevitably constructed image, recklessness and sloppy demeanour (despite often being significantly well off) reeked of distaste to many.

In 2011 it would appear that the hipster subculture is on the way down. It will be a slow decline (Subcultures start somewhere else and then spread slowly. By the time it is taking off in one place another one is beginning elsewhere.). The early 2010s are likely to express a shift away from the sloppy and ironic dressing as favoured by Cory Kennedy and her fellow noughties’ hipsters. I think there will be a new desire to look put together (albeit in a simple, fuss free manner with a focus on quality and longevity) as opposed to looking  thrown together.


Sarah said...

I bet that some people will look nostalgically on hipster stylings in 2040 - in the way some people unconvincingly posit that the New Romantics were incredibly stylish in their day. I think that you're right about it going downhill. Sites like hipster runoff have been spot on in taking off that style for a few year now. Hopefully we'll be seeing less of the lensless glasses from now on...

Kat said...

@Sarah - totally agree, Hipster-dom might be met with some scorn now..but just wait till we get those rose tinted specs on..

Anonymous said...

lord my days of Cory and the Cobra Snake drooling seem so long ago

discotheque confusion said...

oh phew, I saw the title 'is this goodbye' and thought you were signaling the end of your blog!

what I find most interesting about the 'hipster' movement is that nobody would ever admit to being a hipster, it's sort of something to be embarrassed about. the other day me and my friend were talking about this and he said 'the first rule of being a hipster is not to admit it' which I think it funny, true and sad in equal parts.

Kat said...

@ DC - 'the first rule of being a hipster is not to admit it' - that is brilliant! SO SO true.

Actually, the other day a friend of mine said I dress like a hipster on occasion. Of course, I completely denied it..but at the same time could understand where he was coming from..!

Anonymous said...

I definitely believe the hipster look is going to be replaced soon,what started as a interesting subculture has become so mainstream and for me completely lost its meaning. wonder what will be next?

Anonymous said...

@dc Agreeeeee! Whenever anyone has called me a hipster, I've felt terribly insulted.

@Kat I think what's funny about this is how mainstream the hipster look became - and no hipster wants to be seen as mainstream. Look at American Apparel - UNIFORM of the hipster. One of my greatest friends used to merch two AA stores here in NY (and it was a huge rule that they were not allowed to put hoodies on mannequins - the very same hoodies that AA became famous for in the first place) and he told me that AA was really trying to change its image from dirty Williamsburg hipster to preppy good clean America. Hipsters were AA's bread and butter back in the day and now even it doesn't want to be associated with that label.

It's a cycle though. They'll be back.

And Cory was really the first of her kind, wasn't she? The first Internet It Girl. People were OBSESSED with her.

All things aside though, Cory is actually lovely. When I interned at Nylon I really wanted to dislike her (that whole 'famous for doing nothing' thing) but she's nice. And unlike Peaches Geldof (famous for her father) she was in the office and working all the time.

Zoƫ said...

Please let the hipsters go away in 2011! I'm so so weary of the "it takes a lot of money to look this poor" archetype. This constructed image, like you say, is ultimately a facade, it IS simply the pursuit of the cool, they are not rejecting the mainstream by buying their ugly jumpers in Urban Outfitters and Topshop, completely the opposite! I tend to agree with Sarah, but at least the New Romantics didn't pretty to be green-junkies.

Wait, what? Was Cory only famous because she was a blogger?