Remember when those grunge kids in Seattle made up a bunch of slang terms and totally punk’d the New York Times? I can’t help feeling like that’s happening again in the Times‘ latest trend piece, which claims that the huge black fedoras–did you know they’re called Borsalinos? You do now!–commonly worn by the male members of Brooklyn’s Hasidic Jewish community are gaining popularity north of Broadway. This is clearly a prank pulled off by mischievous hipsters, complete with prerequisite rage-inducing quote, “I like wearing it because I know it’s genuine.” It is the perfect satire. At least, I sincerely hope it is, for fear my entire borough is actually trapped inside one huge, un-funny, postmodern joke, which is itself trapped inside the mind of Dov Charney.
The story uses as proof one Theophilus London, who might be the only person in the world cool enough to pull off this look. In fact, I propose a Theophilus London test, whereby anyone who does not meet the following criteria is doomed for horrific, hilarious failure if they try to rock religious headgear in a “fashion” context:
1) Born in Trinidad and raised in Brooklyn (contrary to what the Times implies by calling him a “hip-hop artist from Trinidad”).
2) Has been featured prominently in The Fader.
3) Real name is Theophilus fucking London, or something equally awesome.
4) Extremely relevant to interests of both indie rock and hip-hop nerds.
The article also briefly details the history of blasphemous appropriation in fashion. As their imagery lacks the sexy romance of, say, Catholicism, Hasidic Jews have largely escaped this nonsense in the past, but you should never underestimate the affinity of fashion people for ugly things they’ve never thought to put on their heads before. In fact, I sometimes like to play a game called “oppressed religious fundamentalist or Cat Power fan?” with the young women I see walking down my street in south Williamsburg. I guess it was only a matter of time before the the sexually conservative wing of indie culture saw those clunky shoes and Blossom hats and thought, “now that, my pious friend, is a look fit for stealing and wearing to bars.” Next thing you know they’ll be wearing wigs and having sex through holes cut out of sheets. I’m calling it now.
(Photo via CharlesFred)