Thursday 26 April 2018

Goodbye hipsters - hello yuccies (Young Urban Creatives)

Young, urban creatives are the latest tribe to take over our cities

Yuccies: Dave Byrne, Dean Ryan McDaid, James Kavanagh, Aidan Coughlan, Emma Fraser (front left) and Holly Shortall Photo: Arthur Carron
Yuccies: Dave Byrne, Dean Ryan McDaid, James Kavanagh, Aidan Coughlan, Emma Fraser (front left) and Holly Shortall Photo: Arthur Carron
Vicki Notaro

Vicki Notaro

It's official - the hipster is no more. After years of pop-culture dominance characterised by full beards, tight jeans and a fondness for craft beer, artisan coffee and lumberjack chic, it seems that everything associated with being a hipster has now become de rigueur. Drinks are now served in jam jars everywhere from Kerry to Killybegs, brunch is ubiquitous and thanks to Spotify, we've all heard of that obscure band whose early stuff is awesome.

But according to, an upswing in the economic climate colliding with the spread of hipster style and the advent of more creative careers going mainstream, there is a new tribe in town - the young, urban creatives, aka the yuccies.

Ever since the Swinging Sixties, older generations, and indeed the media, have liked to put a name on the type of young people who flourish in a particular time and place, and this is no different. Over the years, there have been the mods and rockers, the hippies, the punks, the yuppies and the hipsters. Now it seems that all that has gone before has culminated in the yuccie; a post-recession, creatively minded and technologically savvy youth.

Compared to hipsters, it's a kinder term; it has a meaning, and it's much broader, encompassing many different types so that stereotypes don't yet apply. Yuccies are 25 to 35-ish in age, found in cities and work in a creative profession. 'Creative' covers such a multitude these days, from artists to marketeers and fashionistas to digital entrepreneurs; as long as you're inventive and original, you tick the box.

Instead of a devotion to rock music and free love, yuccies are committed to connectivity and worship at the altar of social media. Like yuppies, they want to prosper and have all the things they desire, but like hipsters, they know that they can create such a world for themselves.

Instead of affected insouciance, they're engaged and eager, concerned with getting where they want to be. Self-aware, they have the desire to forge a path not just for their own creative satisfaction, but in the name of success.

It's not really about how they look; not for them the fake horn-rimmed specs, bellbottoms or flash suits of yesteryear. This is not a tribe concerned with aesthetics, it's more about an attitude. Yuccies are more individual, - it doesn't matter where they bought their clothes, only that they cultivate their own signature style. You only have to look at the rise in fashion bloggers and street style to see this.

Now that wanting to do well as opposed to simply surviving is the new normal, yuccies are in a better position to achieve their dreams. Hipsters came to prominence during the global recession and were characterised by a pared-back self-sufficiency (less emphasis on grooming and spending, an affinity with times gone by), yuccies are capitalising on their predecessors' advances yet moving along with the times, and with their rising bank balances.

"I like it but I hate it," says online editor Aidan Coughlan of the word Yuccie. Working at the Lovin Group, famous for website, he's familiar with the hipster decline.

"I was so bored of the word hipster, which has come so far from its origins that it doesn't really mean anything anymore - from someone who grows their own vegetables to someone who wears skinny jeans. It's also picked up such a derogatory slant over the years, so the only people who embrace it are absolute parodies of the trope.

"So while I like that Yuccie has stopped this, any label that's thrown around liberally is going to have its meaning diluted and morph into a hateful caricature. Right now the term does accurately describe me, for better or worse, but I'm loathe to embrace it."

I'm not. I wrote "they" above knowing full well that I'm one of them. I think that the term is so broad, it's not really possible for it to succumb to snark. All it means is that I'm young, by today's standards (2015's 30-year-olds are akin to the 22-year-olds of 1985) and creative. I work as a writer and I've left full-time employment to go it alone, believing that being open to opportunity is they key to success. I live in Dublin 7 and frequent establishments that would've been hipster, before they became commonplace. I use Twitter religiously, and am almost surgically attached to my iPhone. I like Taylor Swift songs and reality TV, and not in an ironic way. I wear what I want, not what's on trend, and my wardrobe varies from Valentino to Penneys' finest. I don't ever see myself owning property, but I don't really have a problem with that. I'd rather be true to myself than rich, but to be both would be ideal.

We yuccies are charact-erised by the fact that we like to have our fingers in as many pies as possible. I was recently referred to as "just a journalist" by a young blogger, and considered setting up a Tumblr for a minute before I caught myself.

That's because yuccies are often preoccupied by the amount of slashes after their name - in my case, journalist/writer/talking head. For others it's PR executive/club promoter/interior-design maven; such is the case with 26-year-old James Kavanagh, another D7 resident.

"I account manage in an agency called notoriousPSG by day, run a club night called Church and write and edit a home and interior website called on the side.

"I have a short attention span, so having all of these things going on suits me. I also like 'doing' things in my downtime; my friend Edel and I love nothing more than chatting at length about things like politics, how we can become rich and how social media is changing us, so we made a Soundcloud podcast called Waffle On where we upload our conversations."

For 27-year-old Emma Fraser, yuccie culture has sprung from a willingness to embrace change.

"If you look around the capital now, it's the 'hipsters' of five years ago who are running the best restaurants and changing the face of Dublin's shopping scene. The term used to frustrate me as I felt that it was used in such a general way to describe anything that was new to people, or something they didn't understand."

Emma has been running website and store Nine Crows since 2010, and is launching NotAnother Agency with her business partner Dean Ryan McDaid. She thinks the recession made young people bolder.

"Job options were so thin on the ground it made people go for it with their own businesses. The creative sector has flourished; we learned how to achieve things in a grassroots way, and to work hard - something we lost sight of during the Celtic Tiger. There is nothing like the strain of not knowing where next month's rent is going come from to make you work your ass off!"

Dave Byrne (30) is a PR director/DJ, and isn't offended by either term.

"Do I think I'm a yuccie? No, but I did Mashable's quiz and the outcome was 'You are such a Yuccie, it's insane' so I suppose whatever one is, I'm ticking some of the boxes! I don't think yuccie culture has come from anywhere, it's always been here and has evolved - now it has a name.

"Punks were yuccies, and so were new-wave goths. If a young person today is creative and wants to pour it into a job or a personal project, I applaud that."

It's impossible to deny a shift though; it's obvious that where hipsters hid behind irony, yuccies dare to dream. They're hopeful, more engaged with the here and now, and less preoccupied with what's cool or what they "should" be doing according to societal norms

Perhaps that's down to a strange confidence having survived the past few years, or a worldliness thanks to the vast expanses of the internet.

"I think most people have seen how the older generation struggled through the recession with hefty mortgages and debt and just thought 'no thank you'," says 26-year-old fashion illustrator/visual merchandiser Holly Shortall.

"That's my way of thinking. The people who are constantly asking if I've started saving for a mortgage are the same people moaning about the one they've been paying off for years. I would rather make a small living doing what I love, than be rich doing something I despise.

"I think social media has been a huge player in allowing [yuccies] to happen. You can share whatever you want to with the whole world at the touch of a button, and this has influenced creativity. It's a good time to be in Ireland."

The common thread amongst the yuccies appears to be optimism, self-motivation and a quest for joy. Surely that's better than the doom and gloom of years gone by?

"In Celtic Tiger Ireland, money took precedence over creativity," says Aidan.

"Then the recession hit, and that reversed. Right now, we're at that sweet spot where we have both - big ideas, and the available capital to go turn them into a reality."

So if we can avoid losing the run of ourselves, it appears yuccie culture can only be a good thing. Watch this space.

The difference between a hipster and a yuccie?

Hipsters are ironic, yuccies are eager

Hipsters like vintage, yuccies like a high street/high end hybrid

Hipsters love obscure, yuccies love mainstream

Hipsters want self sufficiency, yuccies want to get involved

Hipsters delight in being secular, yuccies delight in straddling slashes

Hipsters are insouciant, yuccies are enthusiastic

Hipsters hate electronic dance and pop music, yuccies think it's all good craic

Hipsters stick to their own bars, clubs and restaurants, yuccies like to branch out

Hipsters pretended to eschew technology, yuccies embrace it wholeheartedly

Irish Independent

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