Rhiannon Harries: A style tribe that lives up to the name

Urban Notebook

Tuesday 16 July 2013 23:04

No great surprises initially – Sloaney Ponies in South Kensington, a scrum of Topshop Princesses at Oxford Circus, a straggly assortment of Emos up in Camden. In short, the standard style tribes in their rightful locales. Heading home in Shoreditch, however, things got more interesting. For the uninitiated, London's hipster heartland is an explosion of sartorial individuality where you expect to feel like a frump if you've come out sans Elizabethan ruff or a necklace strung with old cassette tapes.

But spend any time in the area and it's easy to spot that it's populated by a style tribe like just any other – the only difference being that you won't find these uniforms on the high street. Which makes the latest look that the trendies are sporting an intriguing one.

The girl queuing next to me at the bus stop was a model example, although rest assured this is a unisex get-up: smears of brightly coloured face paint beneath each eye; head-band plus Pocahontas-style feather; multiple abstract tattoos and a rag bag assortment of clothes of varying patterns and weaves.

This current East London vogue is called "tribal", apparently, which seems a rather catch-all term for a mish-mash of ancient cultures (presumably it's hard to fit in much world history when you spend an hour planning an outfit each morning). Elsewhere, it's best observed at the hippest end of the celeb spectrum – Ben Goldwasser and his partner in electro duo MGMT Andrew VanWyngarden are big fans of an Aztec print or two.

Could this be the hipsters' oh-so post-modern response to their outing as just another style tribe – taking the idea of a uniformed collective to its most absurd conclusion? Oh dear, and just when you thought the Vice generation couldn't get any more ironic.

What a bunch of plonkers

Is there no end to the pointlessness of Twitter? The most recent example of Twitter-mania is a wave of online wine tastings, during which experts tweet their notes between sips, inviting responses from fellow enthusiasts around the globe.

One such event in London earlier this year managed to topple Obama's inauguration from the top spot of Twitter conversation topics, prompting an attendee to eulogise on "the power of alcohol to bring people together". Drinking alone with your mobile phone or a night at the pub? Tough choice.

Susie Rushton is away

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