Have you recently tossed a pair of heavily cushioned trainers in your basket? Carefully layering hydrating masks, serums and a gently exfoliating acid on a hangover? Do you care about tog rating, thread counts, purely decorative throws and wool cushions?? If yes, then hello there. There’s a strong likelihood you’re part of the latest menswear/lifestyle trend to have evolved from the hipster.
See, the hipster has long been dead. These days, genuine stockbroker company adverts in major train stations describe people who ride scooters as hipsters (??). But really, that word has no meaning today. The one-time Pitchfork readers from the site's pre-Condé Nast era have been replaced by a new phenomenon: the early thirties hypebeast who shops at Goodhood, is really into homeware and expensive candles and has a disposable bank account and/or a very well hidden pile of debt.
You’ve probably seen them. They’re in your office in their pale nude Adidas Ozweegos (like the Yeezys but not as expensive) with an unbranded Supreme t-shirt and wide and easy workwear pants. Maybe you share a house with, date or indeed are one, in which case you’re educated in the following three things: skateboarder Blondey McCoy, Japanese streetwear brand Beams, Aesop hand soap.
These guys aren’t the same as the child hypebeasts who queue outside Palace. They don’t really care for streetwear “drops” – unless as part of a long-term investment plan based on the resale value of Supreme apparel and merch only; the early thirties hypebeast would not be caught dead in public wearing the same hoodie as a queue-committed 12-year-old. Nor do they spend any of their time scouring bargains on up-selling websites like Grailed and Stockx. They are the same hipsters who once drank from cans of shit beer to “prove” how alt-authentic and “broke” they were, about a decade ago, though. Now, they happily flaunt their money in Aries hoodies.
Unlike the lower-middle class hipster who never really had much chance progressing from bartender, waiting staff, content creator or shop assistant, the early thirties hypebeast looks to have been upwardly mobile. That's how it seems, anyway, when you might scroll back through their Instagram timeline, looking on as they go from a once-yearly pair of scuffed up Vans to a new pair of Air Max 90s every month. But then you realise, via the medium of every trip to Brooklyn, Berlin and Barcelona, that they've always been financially flush – they're now just showing it with apparel.
Make no mistake, the early thirties hypebeast is distinctly very middle class. How else were they able to do several unpaid advertising internships for, like, two years? It’s this blessed placement in the social hierarchy that’s helped them waltz into cushty, creative roles as well-paid marketing creatives, curators, video producers or a business magnate, easily able to throw money into whatever fad-trend bar is currently making its way onto the pages of Timeout (hi, micro-brewers under railway arches!).
This isn’t a bad thing. Coming from and having money doesn’t make you inherently evil. It simply means that if you’re an early thirties hypebeast, there’s a good chance you grew up in a financially secure environment – one that played some part in guiding you toward a financially secure future, where it's possible to be in a cool job and well-off, splashing spare money on luxury skate-wear instead of Mont Blanc pens and Russell and Bromley brogues. And if you haven't been born into security? Good for you, though you’re certainly a rare breed among all the Norse Project coats.
Where the hipster was mostly abhorrent – it was, after all, a derogatory term, used as an insult even within its own subculture (stoners taking the piss out of vegans, and vice versa, for example) – the early thirties hypebeast is aspirational. Think about it: no well-adjusted person truly wants to enter their third decade still subsisting on Red Stripe, MD crumbs, friend loans and yellow-ticketed ready meals. That’s trash. The dream is dining at a different small plate spot every week and still ending up nowhere near your overdraft at the end of the month.
All of this isn’t simply the by-product of growing up either. The rise of the early thirties hypebeast is a new phenomenon – almost like the new subset of social class who, 20 years ago, would've been settling down with kids and a mortgage but instead are bumping keys of coke in the toilet of a bar-that-also-does-food-and-sort-of-becomes-a-club-after-11PM, soundtracked by whatever DJ the restaurant has brought in to provide the aural vibes for people eating sushi.
Though they probably went to nu-rave nights back in the day, and still know all the words to The Teenagers’ “Homecoming”, these guys don’t really care for music anymore. It's just not on their radar like it once was. They’d like you to think they’re delving into the nether regions of the NTS playlist but when push comes to shove they’re more Kendall HBO's Succession than they are Giles Peterson or whatever.
Now, the lads who previously would have been dads at this age have instead become kind of boring not-quite adults with low-key drug habits. And that latter part is the most controversial thing about them. Unlike the hipster, the early thirties hypebeast doesn't really have much to say: it's not controversial, pushing boundaries, creating art. There will be no retrospective on them, like all those books and memes and viral songs about hipsters. There will be no documentary video.
Essentially, the early 30s hypebeast is streetwear’s popularity coalescing with the literal ageing process of those who were in their teens when the trend first broke via skateboarding and whoever was hot on Def Jam. They are what happens when a generation grows up but continues to live in the area they moved to in their early 20s. It is gentrification and capitalism combined into one £22 amber and moss soy candle, sold in an area that used to be a literal sewer ditch. It is those damn cushioned shoes.
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.