Cool: Intuitive Attitude

image_v2Jay & Oliver, left to right, are cool. They were found skateboarding on the Isle of Dogs, London. Source: Address Publications

Cool people, like fashionable people are rare. Cool is a state of being. You can’t fake it or it will appear contrived. It’s an attitude that can’t be bought. You can buy cool things or take part in cool activities, but they are nothing if you don’t ooze the cool juices from your very own core. Like you and your clothes, cool is three-dimensional. It’s not enough to strike a pose in front of the mirror, you need to have the cool with you at all times, apparent from every angle, in motion, and even when you are asleep.

The coolest people are so natural at it they don’t know they are cool. If they did, they wouldn’t care what you think, and that’s not because they’re arrogant, it’s just because they are cool. You can’t see it as such. It’s a feeling you get when you’re near coolness that is echoed by the way the cool person wears clothes and anything they touch moves with them as one. Like these two 17 year olds who, despite their exuberant posturing when asked to be photographed, I don’t think had previously considered the magnitude of their coolness. They effortlessly zipped along paving slabs in Canary Wharf “Whooping!” at each other, as the majority of people around who were wearing sad looking suits starred at them before darting into the local Tesco Metro to buy a perfectly organised looking supper. They told me “We invented this look! None of our friends dress like this, just us.” The jumper and tee tucked deep into their tight stretch jeans – could go all the way to the ankles for all I know. Sport socks were pulled up to maximum length, out over their skinny jeans, creating a tiered effect towards the head like an MC Escher lithograph. It seemed wrong but strangely right. They’ve been dressing like this for two weeks “Yeah, it’s new to us. Actually, it started as a joke, but then we realised it was good for skating so we carried on dressing like this.”

The coolest of trends start here. Teenagers ‘hanging’ in the streets, severed from the rules of childhood and uninhibited by adulthood restrictions ahead of them. In this window they make the rules with playful intuition. There are no limits other than their willingness to experiment, often making fun of themselves with whatever materials are at their disposal. Props may include cigarettes, eye make-up or a BMX, in this instance clothes from H&M, Puma socks, Vans and a skateboard. Fresh ideas are born as the energy of youth fuels new identities applying meaning to inanimate objects, in this, a moment in time. Coupled with a relaxed confidence in carrying yourself, if you can be a clotheshorse, making anything and everything near you seem breathable, changeable, unpredictable and excitingly so, the chances are you too are cool. If you have never been cool, don’t worry, coolness can come with age, there is still time to connect with your inner cool. Many of the coolest people in this universe are OAPs, or dead! Similarly, be warned, coolness is fickle just like fashion, more often than not leaving its host behind.

Note: Oliver took his glasses off for this photo but he looked just as cool, if not cooler, with them on.