The formula that explains why all hipsters look the same

Participants of the Hipster Olympics, Berlin
Participants of the Hipster Olympics, Berlin

Ever wondered why those who rail against conformity appear to favour the same types of clothes, trundle around on the same fixie bikes and all sup on the same rare Bolivian coffee beans from the same pop-up cafes in the same trendy neighbourhoods of their city?

Well, a mathematical neuroscientist thinks he has discovered an answer to the question of why all hipsters look the same. And no, it's not because they're all pairs of identical twins who run cereal cafes in Shoreditch.

Jonathan Toboul from the Collège de France in Paris has written a paper titled: "The Hipster Effect: When anti-conformists all look the same" and concludes that:

Or, in other words...

When hipsters are too slow in detecting the trends, they will keep making the same choices and therefore remain correlated as time goes by.

So because trends move so quickly, those who attempt to adopt trends before they take off (hipsters) are too slow to pick up a new trend once their original trend has become too popular. Or, as Vocativ notes, "an actual hipster is about as real as a unicorn". Right.

Toboul hopes his research will do more than just help people choose the best suit this winter:

This study may have important implications in understanding dynamics of inhibitory networks of the brain or investment strategies in finance, or the understanding of emergent dynamics in social science, domains in which delays of communication and the geometry of the systems are prominent.


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