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‘Monocles Are Back!,’ Says The New York Times And A Ridiculous British Hipster Expert

By / 03.06.14

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If there are two things I can guarantee to you beyond a shadow of a doubt, they are (1) that young trendy people (read: hipsters, mostly) will always try to bring back the fashion stylings of yore and make them popular again, and (2) that if the New York Times writes an article about people doing just that with monocles, it will contain at least one quote that will make you want to scream and/or laugh forever.

Point being: I now present selected highlights from the New York Times article “One Part Mr. Peanut, One Part Hipster Chic: The Monocle Returns as a Fashion Accessory.”

“I got it just to have my own style, bring something new to the table,” said Jose Vega, 23, an aspiring Miami rap musician who can be seen sporting a monocle on his SoundCloud page. “Also, I’m nearsighted.”

Okay, so first of all, you really need to click on the link to the full NYT story so you can see the picture of Mr. Vega wearing a beanie and mean-mugging with a monocle dangling from his right eye. I can’t do it justice. Go. Now.

Second, the best part of that quote by miles and miles and miles is the “Also, I’m nearsighted” tacked on the end. It’s like he realized halfway through the first sentence that this could all be going south in spectacular fashion, so he quickly adjusted course to something more practical. Kind of like how your foot will sometimes slam on the brakes before your brain fully processes the deer in the middle of the road. Self-preservation.

Martin Raymond, a British trend forecaster, credits the rise to what he calls “the new gents,” a hipster subspecies who have been adding monocles to their bespoke tweed and distressed-boot outfits. On a recent trip to Cape Town, Mr. Raymond said, he saw such a group carrying monocles along with tiny brass telescopes kept in satchels.

Everything about this paragraph is perfect. I think it will help if I break it down piece by piece.

  • They went to British guy for their monocle questions.
  • The British guy is a “trend forecaster.”
  • He has invented a new term for a hipster subspecies.
  • That term is “new gents.”
  • The British trend forecaster has recently been to Cape Town, presumably for trend forecasting research.
  • While in Cape Town, he saw South African hipsters “carrying monocles along with tiny brass telescopes kept in satchels.”
  • BRASS TELESCOPES IN SATCHELS.
  • He is now reporting back on all of this to America’s paper of record.

It’s even better if you imagine Martin Raymond, British trend forecaster, trying to study these South African “new gents” by slowly blending in with them, like Jane Goodall did with chimpanzees. I vote we give him a globetrotting reality show. He can be the Anthony Bourdain of trends.

“All of this is part of a sense of irony and a way of discovering and displaying old artisanal and craft-based technology,” Mr. Raymond said. “You see the monocle appearing in Berlin, parts of South Dublin.”

Read that first sentence a few dozen times. See if you can figure out what the hell it means. I cannot. The closest I’ve been able to come is “Because they think bringing back weird old sh*t is funny or whatever,” but hey, I’m not the world-traveling British hipster expert here. I’m just a simple guy who thinks all of this is hilarious, and who just found a picture in the Getty archive of a rhino wearing a monocle while working at a computer. That’s what I am.

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