Sailaja N. Joshi

The Moustache Club

In American Dream, Social Change, United States, World Value Survey on May 3, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Recently I was in Washington DC and stumbled on a t-shirt company, Fuzzy Ink that specializes in t-shirts that are moustache themed. Cute shirts, all with moustaches.

This got me thinking; I’ve noticed a lot more mustached hipsters lately and I want to know, just how and when did this start? Who was ‘consumer zero’ who said, hey let’s start growing a moustache! Where is this man responsible for bringing back the ‘nosy neighbor?’

I know a lot of fashion blogs will say that trends start on the runways of Paris or with some high-end fashion designer, but I think that is hogwash.  There are also those blogs that will say trends start on the street with the “Alpha Setter”-a consumer who is the “in” person. Again, I’m not buying that either, because those people are influenced by something.

The key is, what is that something?

So, I’ve done some thinking, and some ideating and come up with the following:

That something that I’m looking for, the something that has started the moustache revolution is, the collapse of the economy.

Don’t believe me? Well take a look.

With the economic collapse, my generation really began to understand what it meant to not have. We came to understand the living beyond our means (read: in debit) was not a way for us to live.  The people at Context Research did a great write about this movement among consumers.

Once we’ve started to realize that living in debt is just not possible, I believe our society went back to being  more survival-based. While we’re not fighting off lions, we are in a way fighting to readjust our bank accounts and restructuring the way we live.  We know from sociology that when you’re working to survive, you’re more inclined to spend more time with your family and accept things that are more traditional.

Enter in Moustache.

I believe that this trend in moustaches speaks to a much larger trend happening in the world today, specifically among my generation. We are making a beeline towards all things traditional. We are paying down debt and no longer needlessly buying big-luxury items. We’re not about labels, we’re about local goods. We are in essence; going back to our traditional roots.

So what happens when the economy makes a upswing and consumers start to spend frivolously again? Well I think my generation is going to remember this time and spend wisely going forward. In addition, I think these values will be passed on to our children, who will grow up realizing the value of the dollar. Companies better start understanding that it’s no longer about just the product, but also the relationship they establish with their consumers.

And so, in closing. Thank you moustache. You may be just a soup strainer to some, but you’re a sociological observation to me.

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  1. Well, I have to say this trend definitely predates the economic downturn though I do like your theory. I believe my first mustache growing began in 2002 as a challenge to societal norms and consequently an hilarious office event as an annual “growathon”, mostly for laughs. At this point the hipsters hadn’t even found their skinny jeans yet, yet alone the illustrious mustache.

    Also, there is the well-known Movember (http://us.movember.com/) which started in 2003, so right around the time my crew began thinking of challenging social norms through the lip lawn.

    So I can’t speak for the world, but I can say it’s been inching its way back for neigh near 8 years now. Don’t have documentation from 2002, but you can see the latest endeavors at my new job:
    2006: http://homepage.mac.com/lukehokama/mustache/2006/
    2007: http://homepage.mac.com/lukehokama/mustache/2007/
    2008: http://liplawn.blogspot.com/

    Funnily enough, in my sphere, I’ve seen the mustache disappear with these harder economic times (with, of course, the exception of the hipsters which I think are just late in general and whose parents- and by extension themselves- I doubt are really feeling any economic hardship).

  2. Hi Luke-

    VERY interesting!!!

  3. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers
    Christian, iwspo.net

  4. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers
    Christian,Earn Free Vouchers / Cash

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