Because hipster consumer culture is a hellscape of ironic branding drizzled over many layers of social decay, an online clothing brand is now selling shirts that make light of neighborhood displacement. “Keep Calm and Gentrify Brooklyn” is latest glib catchphrase printed on numerous graphic tees from Hipster Bullshit, an online retailer that asks customers: “Hate yourself? Cool, we do too.” If your Rumsfeld-era “Ski Iraq” T-shirt is now too small to cover your midsection, this is the shirt for you.
The “Keep Calm” phrase is of course a long-played-out meme parody of British World War II posters that encouraged Londoners to “Keep Calm and Carry On” despite the brutal bombing of English cities by Nazi Germany. Hipster Bullshit has rescued the phrase at a time when gentrification continues to put Brooklynites out of their homes and out of work. They’ve slapped “Keep Calm and Gentrify Brooklyn” on two different shirts. One of them includes a cupcake, because nothing’s sweeter than working class immiseration! Don’t you get it? This product is (maybe?) a nuanced commentary on yupsters “colonizing” neighborhoods. Now do you get it? Here, let Hipster Bullshit explain themselves:
Super chill apparel for the modern millennial avocado-toast-eating converted-loft-living $7-cortado-sipping LCD-Soundsystem-liking yuppie hipster seeking to fill the horrible void of existence by buying a bunch of cool-ass bullshit to parade around gentrified neighborhoods all over the Western world (and occasionally Thailand).
Also available in Hipster Bullshit’s F/W 17 line are “Gentrifier” shirts that feature the “fire” emjoi. Honestly who wants this kind of thing? Who’s here for this, other than the Australian bros currently throwing a week-long rave in an illegal Airbnb above your place? What sane person spends $30 on a graphic tee of the Wikipedia Gentrification page stamped with pro-brunch propaganda?
Hipster Bullshit doesn’t appear to have any other online presence or contact info, but Gothamist did speak with Imani Henry, Executive Directory of Equality 4 Flatbush about the gentrification joke apparel. Henry, who is active in numerous efforts to end NYPD brutality and curb the whitewashing effects of Brooklyn gentrification, described irony as the wrong way to critique gentrification.
“Why not wear a Black Lives Matter shirt? If you want to be in clear solidarity, be in clear solidarity. I’m making an assumption that if you’re a gentrifier you’re not going to wear this shirt. If you’re that clueless, that you wold actually wear it, then of course somebody would be upset by it,” Henry said.
Hate these shirts? Cool, we do too.