In theory or by deflation, to be cool means to remain calm and collected even under times of stress. But this doesn’t explain the ever so changing global culture of cool. What does it really mean to be cool nowadays, and why is it cool to be cool? Does it define an individual by the music he or she listens to? The lifestyles one chooses to live, or the culture they surround themselves in? If in fact it can be pinned down to these, why is it constantly changing and evolving? The first question, you need to ask yourself is where the aesthetics of cool derived from.
In ancient Greece, the Stoic philosophers supported a vision of coolness in a turbulent world. The Stoic Indifference to fate can be Interpreted as the supreme principle of coolness, and has even been viewed as such in the context of African American culture. (Boot-Bernstein, “What Does It Mean to be Cool? “) Cool was developed mainly as a behavioral attitude practiced by the men in the United States during the slavery era. Slavery was the catalyst to emotional detachment and irony. A “cool attitude” helped slaves cope with the harsh treatment and exploitation they went through.
It gave them the confidence to walk the streets with their head held high -? It gave them a sense of dignity. Cool represented the resistance to authority through creativity and innovation: fighting for your right to party! Pictures the Stoic suggested a difference between those things that depended on us and those things that do not depend on us. He advocated developing an attitude of regarding the things we couldn’t influence as unimportant. We depend on our impulses, passions, attitudes, opinions, desires, beliefs and Judgments – these are things we must Improve.
Everything that cannot be controlled by us – death, the actions of others, or the past, for example – should leave us Indifferent. Through this Insight that all the things upon which we have no influence are best neglected, a ‘cool’ attitude is nurtured. Cool manifested itself in the form of Jazz music. It originated at the beginning of the 20th century in black communities. Jazz was a mix of African and European music traditions. It gave birth to swing, bebop, cool Jazz, and many more. Musicians Like Lester Young, Miles Davis, Dizzied Gillespie, John Coloration, Charlie Parker, Stan
Get, and Chest Baker were among the few that revolutionized “cool”. They didn’t care about what people thought; they were breaking the rules of music. “Cool Jazz”, (late ass’s to early ACS) was about breaking the tension between social and racial identity. It meant being calm and smooth. #improvising It even showed in their album covers, the lyrics, the aggressive fast paced beats of the drums, the trumpet and saxophone solos. The black community TLD only look to the guys of Jazz, but they were seekers of different outlets to preserving and sharing their cool.
Cool ultimately became the manifest destiny”, the American dream, capitalism, and getting money. Cool transformed itself from music to a new lifestyle. Cool now meant it had a defining style, it meant that you had to exhibit the “look” of wealth and power; it meant expressing yourself on some next level gear and listening to different music. I mean movements it was ultimately about defying social class. Cool needed the foundation to keep its rep. The trust through friends didn’t cut it. Everyone who wanted to be cool dollied his or her heroes and mentors.
Before Michael Jordan and Barack Obama, people looked up to Steve Macaque, the king of LOL, Chest Baker, the prince of cool, James Dean, the guy who defied death, and JEFF, the one we looked up to for change. Guys like Steve, Chest, and James didn’t overly try hard to do anything… Or be cool for that matter. They were ordinary guys who collected cars and motorcycles, did drugs, and played music. They carried the bad boy rugged look; they defied the law, etc. So why are they icons and what did they all have in common? They all were reformed delinquents.
They portrayed both dramatic back-stories and off-screen exploits. People created this fetish fantasy based on these guys on the silver screen and stage. Going back to what I explained earlier, cool now meant wealth and power. It didn’t matter if you had the face or not, if you walked the walk and talked the talk, you were in. F. Scott Fitzgerald was the legend of literature. Before music and film, he reigned over all. Fitzgerald was the prophet and golden boy of the new era. In his novels he depicted the essence of his own life, the age of materialism, idealism, and broken dreams.
He captured the disillusionment of post-war America and the moral failure of a society obsessed with wealth and status in his novel, The Great Gatsby. Why is is work so cool and why is it relevant? Fitzgerald was fascinated with youth, and he was one of the first to recognize the insidious way American culture has tended to mistake growing up for growing old. Young readers always identify with the sense of being on the far side of a generational divide, of having been born into a period of in which everything is new and rapidly changing – and to that these generations appreciate him.
Most of all, however, is the romance. Fitzgerald makes love cool for young people – he is the poet of both its glamour and its sadness. For all the arch Hyannis we are apt to mask our feelings behind in our early twenties, people want to feel emotions that are rich and powerful but not sentimental, and Fitzgerald profound awareness that the lachrymose is cathartic is one of his richest legacies. (Current, F. Scott Fitzgerald Society) People wanted to relate their “coolness” not only through music and television, but through literature as well.
Fitzgerald was ahead of his time – a true poet like Shakespeare. You’re probably thinking where I am going with this and what my point is. Well, the second question you need to ask yourself is why cool is marketed. Who exactly is responsible for changing and paving new trends? This brings me to cool hunting. Cool hunting essentially is structured around the search for a certain kind of personality and player in a given social network. For years if you knew where to shop, live, eat, etc on Madison Avenue, you basically knew what would come next.
Many companies however, don’t trust themselves with this kind of research, so they hire a team of experts who can find the trendsetters and speak the language. They look for the 20% of the trendsetters so they can influence the other 80% who have no idea hat cool is. Deeded Gordon and Sharon Lee are responsible for the trends we see today based on their research company specializing in youth culture, Look-Look. “The about what we think is a very important subculture of this world–and we identify it as youth culture. We live in an adult-centered view of the world.
And there’s this teeming, very exciting, vibrant subculture going on that’s got its own identity, its own thoughts, and issues that we don’t have a resource to try to understand. So if you wanted to know more about it … We’re providing that bridge. First of all, we think it’s laid enough to have its own resource. There’s so much great information happening. ” (Lee, Frontline) The 20% responsible for research are called correspondents – all former cool kids and trendsetters. They are the ones that look outside their own backyard for inspiration, the leader within their own group.
So why have cool hunters? The overall goal of a cool hunter is to find a lifestyle and sell it with the help of the youth through market research data. Understanding the youth is easy; it’s the problem of choosing the right demographic. Generational fads tend to peat themselves, Just with different packaging. #refrigerator’s. Josh Rubin is another self-proclaimed cool hunter. He believes that there are no new ideas, Just great executions. As an interaction designer he’s always looking for both creative inspiration and an understanding of the way people do things.
Today Cool Hunting is synonymous with seeking inspiration and has a global team of editors and contributors sifting through innovations in design, technology, art and culture to create the award-winning publication that consists of daily updates and weekly mini- commentaries for an international audience of like-minded creative people. (Rubin, Cool Hunting) From 2004 to 2008, Nikkei USB put out the craziest shoes kids had ever seen. The shoes were referential and mirrored what was going on in street art, music, and youth culture.
Everyone has theories as to why, but my feeling was that USB was the only division Nikkei gave creative license to roam free, do limited runs, and create Just to create. They weren’t working under extreme oversight like people doing Jordan, Lebanon, or Kobo. The shoes always referenced skate, street culture, hip-hop, New York ND Los Angels. Hundreds of kids camped out for days in front of stores Just to get them. The reason was simple: if you made it into the store with the first wave and got a pair at box price (I. E. Detail), you could resell it for five or six times the value online. What’s the point? Well, in my experience Cordon’s and Nine’s were my inspiration in life. When you’re a ten-year-old in middle school, there’s only one reason you buy Cordon’s: to Jump higher. Nowadays people Just buy them for the style. “There is a point where everything that meant something to us goes to die at two-for-one Ladies Night. ” (Eddie Hung, Fresh Off The Boat) The same thing happened with streetwise. It became too accessible and the customer base changed.
Instead of being a culture created and sold to people who actually lived in New York, Los Angels, San Francisco, etc, it became something consumed on the Internet. Instead of buying the shoes and clothes for what they stood for – transgressing, satirical, do-it-yourself democratic street culture- people co-opted it as the style du Sour. They wore it because it was colorful, in season, and trendy. Online retailers, most notably Karamazov, physically UT stores out of business and the culture ultimately lost its gatekeepers, the ones who kept standards high and the posers out.
This however, brings me to the paradox of living with cool. Karamazov wasn’t Just doing it for the cause; they were the itself is sponsored, packaged, and sold right back to the youth. Everyone falls into the machine of consumerism. Being cool is recycled. Cool is not trying to hard. Cool is having power but not overly showcasing it. But finally, cool is money. Money talks and bullwhip walks, Just don’t forget if your cause is strong enough, nothing will curb your enthusiasm.