What’s cool? What’s daggy? Who decides?
Dictionary definitions of the word “cool” containing words like “excellent” or “first rate” are very unsatisfying and, by definition, totally uncool. Anyway, you know what we mean by “cool”, just as most Australians know what is meant by the opposite word “daggy”. To a certain extent, both words are really better defined by their application and usage.
REMO founder Remo Giuffré learned something about the anatomy (and alchemy) of cool by observing how a guy named Bob D’Angelo kept his school pants up in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs circa 1973.
Bob D’Angelo, a new boy from the United States, was a very cool guy. You could feel it in your bones. Strong and silent. Good physique. Straight long blonde hair. Very good surfer.
But then there was Bob D’Angelo’s belt. It was black, woven and elasticised with an heraldic metal clasp at the front and adjustable sliders at the hips. That belt was regarded at the time as the epitome of dagginess and very uncool … until Bob wore the belt to school, and then it became cool. Voila!
This demonstration of alchemy and other experiences over time have led Remo to believe three things:
1. Some people are naturally cool or not cool;
2. Some things are inherently cool or not cool;
3. Cool people can make things cool, but cool things can’t make people cool.
In 2008 he created a diagram to illustrate this dynamic.
- Did Billy Ray Cyrus and David Bowie initially legitimise the mullet?
- John Lennon popularised round wireframe glasses.
- Steve Jobs may have single handedly rescued the black turtleneck.
- Might the REMO General Store have made Splayds cool circa 1991?
- Greta Thunberg's autism is an integral and positive aspect of her identity.
- Designer Christopher Kane is credited for triggering the crocs™ revival. Justin Bieber came later.
- Credible indie film maker Greta Gerwig was able to make even Barbie cool.
Can you think of other examples? Please share them with all of us online.
Story Idea: Remo Giuffré
1. Anatomy of Cool RemoGram, 2008
2. Form 2B class photo, Waverley College, 1973
3. Bob D'Angelo's belt, black and elasticised. Doodle by Remo, 2008.
4. John Lennon with round wireframe glasses
5. Crocs™ by Balenciaga, October 2017
7. Margot Robbie with Greta Gerwig at a Barbie premiere. Photo credit: Michael Buckner for Deadline.com