Peter York’s Hipster Handbook – A comment on modern masculinity

Written by Emma O’Connell

At RDSi, we’ve been keeping a keen eye on trends in masculinity for some time.  Peter York’s look at Hipsters on BBC TV, first shown on 3rd November, had a strong slant in this direction.

According to York, hipster beards, lumberjack shirts and tattoos are an attempt to fill the ‘masculinity gap’ in a world where many urban-dwelling men work in front of a computer screen.  He portrays male hipsters as a reaction against the latter-day metrosexual’s ‘sharp’ looks.  But a glimpse inside a Shoreditch barber’s shows us just how ‘cultivated’ the hipster look really is, with a multitude of expensive grooming products used to create the latest beard shapes.

Along with beards and tatts, seems to come an entrepreneurial spirit.  Post-recession, young men are less likely to land the corporate jobs of previous generations.  So they are creating different careers that get them closer to production and community – local and global.  Hipster-central Shoreditch is home to micro-brewers, the famous Cereal Killers Café and £12 cups of coffee!  Super premium pricing is supported by a ‘backstory’ taking craft and authenticity to an almost cult-like level.

York and his expert talking heads, including Sir John Hegarty, comment on how it is authenticity that’s being adopted by big business.  The exposed brick-work walls of Pret A Manger being a case in point.  Like the Sloane Rangers York so vividly portrayed in the past, it is clear that hipster values are now well and truly integrated into the mass market.