The stereotypical image that has a habit of forming in one’s head when the word “hippie” is mentioned is that of a 1970s looking orange and purple floral flare clad man or woman in the sort of costume that you might perhaps find in a dressing up shop. However, it was originally a youth movement formed in the mid 1960s in the USA and since then has taken many shapes and forms in other countries all around the world.
In today’s society, hippies are often almost synonymous with drugs and music; however, again, that is another stereotype. “A person who rejected established institutions and values and sought spontaneity.” This extract from the dictionary definition of hippie infers that hippies just want to have fun and be themselves. That, perhaps, is why music and drugs can sometimes become involved. Music is a way of expressing oneself and it can be used to fight against what is expected of you but it is fun also. This side of it is an inspirational one. However, the drug side is a more extreme way of “rejecting established institutions and values.” Drugs are often portrayed in the media as spontaneous and accidental (i.e. when drinking a considerable amount of alcohol one may do things that they would not normally do, which could be getting involved in more dangerous drugs.)
Seventies style is tantamount with hippies. “Often expressed externally in the wearing of casual, folksy clothing and beads, headbands, used garments, etc.” The Navajo, Aztec, folksy look is very now, so, will we see a rise in hippie behaviour or are clothes really just clothes? How much does fashion affect the way we behave? Fashion is about the way we present ourselves to other people so, if one did decide to take this trend to extremes they might get a few odd stares or maybe some rumours flying around. The beauteous thing about working in the fashion industry is that style endeavours are commended but if you turned up to a normal office job in hardcore hippie style dress you are running the risk of getting fired. Although hippies were established in the mid 1960s, the 60s are associated more with Hairspray-esque dresses and cutesy hair bands. They were a time when dresses were again in style for women, even after Chanel’s hard work on establishing women’s trousers, the legend herself was mostly seen her classic skirt suits in her old age. Hippies definitely seem to be more of a seventies thing. Images of men and women sitting under a tree with a guitar springs to mind; the men and women are both wearing similar attire and smoking cannabis.
Are we bad people to make stereotypes? There are some stereotypes that are morally wrong in today’s society when developed countries are as diverse as they ever will be. Is the hippie stereotype a negative one though? Surely, associating hippies with drugs is a bad thing and there must be modern hippies who do not dress like they have just stepped out of the seventies. As humans we often remember the negatives as opposed to the positives. Hippies believe in love and peace and that is a positive to the subculture. They also believe in not judging others by their appearance so perhaps a hippie inhabited world would make it a better place.
Like many subcultures there is a sense of solidarity through style, though grossly commercialised today. However, next time you take hippie style inspo from hippies walk round saying “Peace out!” and people will be like “Same to you bro.” And if they are just a budding fashionista they will hopefully take that comment as a compliment as it proves that their style efforts have succeeded and have not gone unnoticed.