Have you ever been to a cool party? The Misshapes, a DJ trio from New York, threw a very cool party throughout the 2000s. I know this because the introduction to their eponymous book of party photography, released in 2007 on MTV Press, reads:
“Stringy, sweaty, stripy, sleek, syph-life, saucy, sassy, sarcastic and helplessly sexy, the subjects were read as sirens, beckoning one to slip on two or three layered tanks and a pair of Swedish jeans and start dancing.”
The above is a real sentence written by Sally Singer, a very powerful fashion editor. The book’s back cover lists 124 celebrity appearances, including Bloc Party, Good Charlotte, Fall Out Boy, Hilary Duff, Mandy Moore, MSTRKRFT, Peaches, and The Strokes. Paris Hilton makes a cameo within but isn’t mentioned in this list. Steve Aoki is. Cory Kennedy has an entire page.
Misshapes is an amber-preserved time capsule of mid-aughts hipster culture, of its keffiyehs, lensless neon glasses, fingerless gloves, stripes and bobs. It is as cringe-inducing and hilarious as your first Facebook photos, recast as high-contrast, drug-fueled American Apparel audition polaroids. I was curious what cool teens today would think about it all, so I found some at Pitchfork Music Festival to travel back in time with me and judge hip teens of the past. They were appropriately terrified and I felt appropriately ancient.
Jon, John, and Ahmad
John: So this is like 285 Kent, sort of?
Jon: That’s like Pete Wentz! That’s literally Pete Wentz. That’s bad.
Ahmad: And that’s Madonna.
Jon: It feels old and new at the same time, it’s weird. Because these outfits still feel current, like I could see people wearing this stuff.
Ahmad: For sure. Some of these. These people live in New York? You can tell. These hats are horrible.
John: Oh, shit, that’s the guy who runs MOMA. Supposedly he’s roommates with James Franco. Oh, there’s Pete Wentz. And Tila Tequila. And Steve Aoki. And the guy from Blink-182?
Jon: No, that’s the Good Charlotte dude.
John: Some of these people are cute but have horrible fashion.
Ahmad: I bet they felt so cutting edge though. It was 2008. I wouldn’t be this cool. At least they’re cooler than me. But I haven’t seen anybody I would date.
John: It’s just all about doing something interesting.
Ahmad: I love the Mickey Mouse. This is something I’d wear. I love this guy.
John: He kind of looks like Avey Tare.
Ahmad: This guy is my favorite.
Jon: This guy is dope. Favorite page.
Natalie and Alyssa
Natalie: I just think the 2000s were not a good time. For fashion or the world.
Alyssa: This is pretty bad.
Natalie: A little too much.
Do you guys remember emo?
Natalie: Yeah. We mostly called it scene?
Alyssa: Yeah, the MySpace era. We never were into it though.
Natalie: I feel like we were too young.
Alyssa: I had that Instant Messaging thing, AIM or whatever.
Do you guys GChat?
Alyssa: I don’t know what that is.
How do you IM?
Natalie: I mean, we just text.
Alyssa: Is that Madonna?
What bands were you guys into in 2008?
Alyssa: Like, the Jonas Brothers?
Natalie: Mostly stuff that wasn’t really my time. 90s music because it was mostly what my parents listened to. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, Sublime.
Alyssa: A lot of misfit stuff.
Jordan, Nina, and Xavier
Xavier: I think the 2000s in general were pretty tacky.
Jordan: All of these outfits could be cute but the way they have these pieces together are not.
Nina: Their faces though, they kind of describe how they’re feeling—like, that face? She’s making the same face in every photo and not smiling. It’s 2007, they didn’t smile. They’re too cool for that.
Xavier: Yeah, this was the scene look. And that’s a Jonas! I think.
Jordan: It reminds me of when you awkwardly wore clothes when you were a kid and you weren’t good at matching?
[flip to page featuring Tila Tequila and Steve Aoki]
Xavier: Aww! The 2000s!
Nina: Uhh, you know it’s 2007 ‘cause she’s got a cigarette inside. That’s a real big deal.
Jordan: Look at this. She’s wearing that belt that goes right underneath your breasts to make them look bigger. And is that a Smiths shirt? I mean, maybe that’s good?
Jordan: She looks really young. She looks like a baby—like, I don’t want to turn up with her.
Nina: Wait, oh my god, is that Pete Wentz? [screams]
What do you guys think of when you think of 2007?
Nina: Middle school. And how much I hated middle school.
Jordan: Going to Hot Topic frequently.
Xavier: The 2000s were like a Halloween that never ended.
Anna, Daisy, and Miranda
Daisy: Oh my god. That Disneyland shirt? I had one of those.
Mirand: This is physically hurting me. Noooo!
Anna: This was the goth era, right?
Miranda: This was when everyone was like, I think I’m just a little bit emo and I hate myself. This was when everyone was like, oh, yeah, I wear black? I wear all black.
Anna: It reminds me of when I went to Catholic middle school and wore all black and was emo just because I went to Hot Topic and watched a lot of YouTube.
Daisy: I remember the colored rimmed glasses with no lenses. That was such a big deal.
Miranda: My dad had a pair of those and we all tried to take it away from him! They were so bad!
Anna: I hate this feeling! Am I going to feel like this about myself later?!
Miranda: And look, that makes me cringe! Like, these highlights?
Anna: I’m just scared this is gonna end up coming back!
Miranda: Like, The Killers??
Anna: This is gonna come back. 90s are the thing right now, this will be the thing.
Miranda: This is gonna come back and I’m going to be like, I hate this so much!
Salome and J-Ro
J-Ro: This is very early Panic at the Disco. It doesn’t seem that dated. If you saw these people now it wouldn’t be that crazy.
J-Ro: Okay, no, that’s dated. The fedora?
Salome: No, but fedoras are in for girls now. A lot of this stuff is coming back. Like, tattoo stickers and jelly shoes.
J-Ro: Mesh shirts are coming back.
Salome: I saw a guy wearing one, but he was tan. This is pretty Gossip Girl.
J-Ro: Except… cheap.
Bennet, Maxwell, Phoebe, Avery, and Henry
Phoebe: How old was I in 2008? I don’t… know? 14? What’s bloghouse?
[They open the book and all scream]
Bennet: So hip! Look at those guys.
Phoebe: So bad. This thing? That scarf? [points to a keffiyeh] That’s appropriation. Wait, but that’s a Hot Chip album. That’s a weird shirt with a static pattern on it. Everyone’s wearing their Ray Bans indoors, which they’re not even real, you can tell.
Maxwell: Oh, Scene! Scene!
Phoebe: Emo, scene. Yesss. This guy has that triangle tattoo though. That’s the first hipster tattoo.
Bennet: I’m pretty sure we’ve seen all these outfits today.
Phoebe: These people are having fun. Color blocking, that’s so 2008.
Maxwell: He’s wearing the vintage high school Lions t-shirt in the club. Like, who is this guy?
Phoebe: Fingerless gloves! I wore those in 6th grade.
Maxwell: Everyone looks really androgynous. You don’t see much androgynous rock apparel around anymore.
Phoebe: Oh nooo.
Bennet: This is like Eminem and Sublime rolled into one. These guys definitely smoke weed. I hate it when people dress like this. Like, we get it, you smoke weed.
Phoebe: Like, why do people think they have to be abused to be trendy? Like you need to suffer through something? This black eye.
Maxwell: Going to the club with a box of cereal was big.
What do you guys remember about 2007?
Phoebe: Instant messaging. AOL.
Bennet: V-necks. Lots of V-necks.
Phoebe: American Apparel hoodies.
Any last words?
Phoebe: Yeah. Do you.
Maxwell: Seems like the 90s are well.
Bennet: This is all too much. It’s never gonna come back. It’s the full spectrum right here. Like, Hawaiian shirts with leggings? This is the epitome of the 2007 high school dream. This guy, he’s sort of a Larry, you know, he’s got a little bit of acne, awkward but he thinks he’s the shit, and he goes and gets put up against the wall and some girl puts her butt on him and they have some fun for the first time.
Tyler Trykowski is a hipster. Follow him on Twitter.