The curse of the “cool cliff”

Which fads are on the right side of hip and what’s slipped into mainstream nafness?

Geraniums are in, sliders are still middling-cool and unicorns and succulents are out
Geraniums are in, sliders are still middling-cool and unicorns and succulents are out

In some really cool new research – which, let’s be honest, you probably haven’t heard of – scientists have discovered there is a precise point at which a hipster fad tips into the mainstream, thereby losing all that made it cool in the first place.

Published in the journal science, the study found that social trends enter the mainstream when around a quarter of the population adopts them.

This gives us an excellent excuse to ponder the current state of the “cool cliff”.

Which trends are safely below the 25% per cent cut-off, keeping their cool factor, what’s teetering on the precipice of naff, and what can we happily euthanise now it’s gone mainstream?

So cool right now


While the ape-chested, flares-wearing, cuboid-headed media mogul Simon Cowell may be untrendy in every visible way, his announcement last week that he hasn’t used a mobile phone in 10 months is as right-on as it comes.

Going off-grid for the sake of your mental health makes a lot more sense than its predecessor, “downloading an app to help you meditate”.


Your grandmother’s favourite flowers were long-considered about as trendy as asbestos, but they’re now the hipster gardener’s plant of choice. East End florist Grace & Thorn – Instagram’s most cherished edgy botanists – even brought them to the Chelsea Flower Show this year.


Dry drinking is just so now. Gin that’s 0 per cent proof?

Count the millennials in. Drinking booze-free sake just for the sake of it?
A booming trend in Japan.

All the sophistication of a real drink, but no chance of leading you into a hangover, or a drunken party ... or any fun.

Mo Salah

Once in a blue moon, a footballer comes along who is so darn likeable that even people with no interest in the sport perk up.

Liverpool’s Egyptian sensation Mo Salah, who scored a record 32 goals last season, is that man-of-the-moment.

He’s hard-working, smiles a lot, has a name that fits almost any chant, and is so good, Liverpool fans have promised to convert to Islam if he carries on this way.

Just about keeping their cool


To the uninitiated, these are the slip-on sandals that you might wear around the pool to prevent verrucas.

Except now they’re everywhere, leading to a non-ironic resurgence for the standard-bearer of British uncool – socks with sandals.

It’s a bold step, so don’t bother. They’ll be out again by Christmas.

The Handmaid's tale 

This time last year, the reaction to Hulu’s big budget adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel – shown in the UK on Channel 4 – was as if television itself had peaked.

Elisabeth Moss’s performance was mesmerising, the subject matter was eerily prescient, and even the music was immaculately chosen.

Now we’re into the second season, the praise has cooled significantly, with critics calling it “torture porn”.

Have people started turning off?


The Portuguese capital has been having quite a moment of late and now counts Madonna and Michael Fassbender among its residents.

But such is the popularity of the place for Britons as a weekend getaway, stag and hen party venue, and mainstay on “Europe’s most underrated destinations” lists that it is now as mainstream as Malaga.

(The hipsters are now going to Albania.)


Like atheists or swingers, vegans can barely get through three sentences without informing you they are, in fact, just so you know, vegans.

Once, this would have elicited a reaction of, “Oh, really?” – which is exactly what they want you to say.

In 2018, though, where vegans are ten-a-penny, the admission gets nothing more than a shrug. You’re a vegan? Aren’t we all.

Cooled right down


In 2015, having a succulent or two at home was the modern equivalent of having a soda stream in the 80s — and just about as pointless.

Yet just as those little desk cacti have taken over Instagram, they’ve also fallen off the mainstream cliff, never to return.
Trade them for geraniums.


The Danish term defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being” is now so 2016. What even was it again?

Burning a load of candles and going to bed? You can tell the Danes invented that before the world fell apart.


Just this week, unicorns made up a third of Argos’s top 10 toy list for the year, which is about as clear a sign something’s gone mainstream as you can get.

Millennial parents are to blame, because they always are, but there’s no denying it.

Perhaps when unicorns appeared in the writings of Ctesias and Pliny the Elder they were hipsterish and new, but not now they’re a £230 electric ride-on toy.

French bulldogs 

If you haven’t noticed the invasion of French bulldogs in this country, you have obviously been spending too much time in Albania.

Their scrunched-up little faces, bow legs and “help me” eyes are simply everywhere now that French bulldogs. are the most in-demand breed in the country.

Avoid, for reasons of both taste and animal welfare. – The Sunday Telegraph