Ever wonder what the world’s most famous leaders might have looked like if they had been a little more conscious about their looks? Like if Mahatma Gandhi was fond of tie-dye shirts or if Nelson Mandela wore his hair like the Fresh Prince of Bel Air?
HIPSTORY, a series by designer Amit Shimoni, reimagines famous world leaders, from Gandhi to John F Kennedy, as if they were modern-day hipsters. That means branded beanies and flannel shirts in the unlikeliest of places (on Che Guevara) and a vision of Vladimir Lenin in biker get-up that you’ll find hard to unsee.
“I often find myself imagining a world where some of these leaders are less interested in influencing lives, and more focused on their own persona,” Shimoni told Scroll.in via email “Imagine Gandhi obsessing about his looks, and not about releasing India from the British rule? Or Abraham Lincoln searching for a hip bar, instead of abolishing slavery?”
Although Shimoni insists his work is not aimed at criticising hipster culture and instead is simply intended at changing perspectives so we see things from a different light, his very approach to the HIPSTORY series suggests something of a questioning stance.
“In our time and culture, the ‘big’ ideologies are lost ‒ we have grown tired, or perhaps too smart, to follow big systems of absolute ideas and beliefs,” he wrote, by way of explaining the series of illustrations. “But have we lost something in this process? With nothing to hold on to, we are becoming global beings ‒ focused more on our individual selves and less on society and ideology.”
Here’s Gandhi with a pair of John Lennon glasses.
Che Guevara rocking the branded beanie.
Biker Vladimir Lenin
Winston Churchill embraces the French look.
Abraham Lincoln looking fresh.