You must be blind if you haven’t noticed the Hipster Glasses look that has taken over recently. It consists of wearing large-framed or horn-rimmed eyeglasses as some sort of fashion statement. Traditionally, your regular geek would wear them (and be mocked for it) out of pure necessity. Anyone remember Steve Urkel from 90’s TV show Family Matters? He used to wear thick, large glasses and wasn’t exactly considered the height of cool. At one point during the series, Steve even creates a “cool juice” serum to transform into his more stylish alter ego Stefan Urquelle.
Nowadays though, young people wear them on account of their trendiness. Try walking around an art school or any hip, creative environment and you can bet that you’ll find a throng of hipsters wearing Nerd Glasses. It would be disingenuous to think that this trend is limited to the US and Europe too. In fact, you’d be surprised by some of the countries embracing it: from Egypt, to Lebanon… heck even the Saudi youth have been getting in on the act! According to friends in the UAE, you can’t pass by one of the many optical shops in Dubai without noticing posters of geek chic models everywhere.
The origin of the hipster retro look has been disputed. Some point to the horn-rimmed spectacles sported by Buddy Holly in the fifties as the current craze’s source. Others believe that the look originated with Japanese schoolgirls. What really matters though, is that things quickly blew up as soon as celebrities such as Kanye West started wearing Nerd Glasses and TV shows like Mad Men began popularizing the look. We’re not just talking about movie stars and musicians either: sportsmen have gotten in on the action too.
The nerd look has been extremely popular amongst basketball players such as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Apparently, the trend started to pick up steam when the NBA banned players from wearing their typical urban attire (hoodies, large t-shirts) at post-match news conferences. Thus, the geek chic look, complete with large eyeglasses, was chosen to replace it. Many surmised that this made basketball players (not renowned for their brains) appear smarter and more sophisticated, to the point that NBA post-match news conferences started getting compared to fashion shows.
While some people have portrayed this style revolution as a sort of “revenge of the nerds”, nothing could be further from the truth. The average nerd would be ashamed to see how his well-earned reputation has been tarnished. Consider the latest trend of wearing the 3D plastic eyeglasses that are distributed in cinemas with the lenses punched out. Nothing nerdy about that! Rather, according to this writer, it is the epitome of stupidity: eyeglasses without actual glasses. Teenagers then proceed to take pictures of themselves wearing them, usually with their tongue out and flicking the V sign, accompanied by hashtags such as #YOLO, #THROWBACK, #LOLZ, or other such silliness.
“Has there ever been a better time to have poor vision?” could be the slogan of our generation. Or not, especially when you start noticing that poor vision is secondary when it comes to the Nerd Glasses craze. Who knows what other bizarre, nonsensical fashion trends the future has in store for us?