Contrary to the monochromatic nature of her last name, Louise Gray “thinks in colour,” with her collections always involving vibrant hues, bold textures and simple shapes. Her most recent collection for Fall/Winter 2011 comprised of graphic tartan, polka-dot and pixelated prints and fringed skirts all in bright block colours and with that pop-arty feel she has made her signature style. It all started at Fashion East for Louise Gray, which is ironic as we are considering her relation to the hipsters of East London.
It seems that Louise Gray could easily have fallen into the category of ‘brand chasing hipster’ however, she managed to steer clear of that with her nonchalant attitude to the hipster culture and her aptitude for making bold decisions regardless of whether they fit into a current trend. Ironically this would clearly be something which attracts hipsters, their nature being to latch onto anything considered original or new at the time. However, Louise Gray’s collections would not fit into the hipster wardrobe. They would like to think so but in reality the kind of hipster we are describing would not wear her garments. This is not necessarily due to budget issues as the Hipsters of today seem to be middle class boys who work in graphics and their girlfriends who work in PR. But they prefer to spend their money on vintage and in charity shops, sourcing the old shirts and colourful jumpers known for being generic hipster attire. For them it’s all about association. London's East End fashion gang has gotten into the habit of tagging Louise Gray as a mini Vivienne Westwood and you can see where they're coming from. Gray, a feisty little Scot with a topknot hairdo, has a quirky artistic confidence that's growing season by season. The Hipsters want to be seen as followers of this new playful yet intellectual designer.
·contrast is key and Gray reworks traditional stitches and embroidery techniques to create modern folk details and trompe l'eoile effects.
Brick Lane would be the first place to come to mind as a hipster haven. Hipster as a sub culture is difficult to define because it does not have a certain ideology and did not originate as a reaction to an event going on at the time eg. punk. Hipster seems to be a trend that has evolved from other subcultures such as the mods and now can itself be broken down into smaller sub-hipster groups usually decided on which area you live. Hipsters thrive on the idea that they are all individual but in fact you could write a recipe on “How to Become a Hipster” and anyone would be fooled. It's not that what they are doing isn’t ‘cool’ or, in context 'deck'; their crooked fringes and their great grandmothers faux(or not faux) fur coats are interesting but the question remains, how are they blinded by the fact that if they look in the mirror and then at all their friends its like a little army of hipster clones?
Mocking hipsters has become a popular internet pasttime with sites such as 'Hackney Hipster Hate,' and they have become known as 'dickheads' which is where the term for the sub-group of Brick Lane hipsters, 'the Brick Lane Dickheads' comes from or again, in context, the 'BLD's'.
Being a BLD is all about the blasé attitude to middle class living; to slumming it on the kitchen floor of some student flat in Shoreditch to wearing the oldest, ripped up garments you or more likely, your grandparents owned but that's what its really all about; the clothes. Hipster shopping includes trying to find the quirkiest and most of the time cheapest vintage boutiques. Anywhere with an eclectic mix of things taken from the past: borrowed ‘coolness’ from our ancestors. Key shops include Absolute Vintage, Beyond Retro and the odd item from Top Shop is okay as long as you mix it with what you found in the dusty old box in your attic. A fur coat is a must have, alongside scruffy ankle boots, levi cut-offs you bought for a 5’er, and any tights providing they have a number of holes/ladders. Females make-up is a minimum unless you need to put more kohl round your eyes to give that heroin chic look, hair also needs that unkempt feel even if it takes hours to get those perfectly messy waves or that 'can't be bothered' top-knot. Males hair will be updated on a regular basis but it is ideal if the hair is naturally curly and will usually be top heavy with some sort of bird nesty fringe.
As for lifestyle, daytime consists of health-food and riding everywhere on fixie bikes probably to level out the dub-step inspired drug taking and excessive drinking of an evening. But soon these kids will tire of sleeping on their friend's kitchen floor or they'll realise they (gasp) fit in with the BLD's and they'll move on to the next place they see where they can specifically avoid the mainstream and stand out from the rest of the commercial wearing clones. However for now, Brick Lane seems to be the place to flock to if you're a granny glasses, vintage fur, skinny jean, leather satchel wearing hipster.
Discussions on 'hipsters' have lead to the conclusion that this is a very broad subculture made up of smaller subcultures and in order to be able to do some in depth research we need to choose a smaller subculture; an offshoot of the hipster. We would like to investigate those hipsters who come from a well-off background and yet choose to slum it on the kitchen floor of some student flat in Shoreditch. Why? It seems to all be about what is 'deemed cool by the cool.'