Le geek, c’est chic: Why are the nerds the ‘cool’ ones now?


I see another hipster walking down the street wearing non-prescription glass frames. I control the urge to grab them and stamp them into the ground shouting, ‘you don’t even need these!’. From ‘GEEK’ slogan t-shirts in TopShop to clunky mannish brogues that your Sunday-school teacher was repping before you were even born, why have nerd aesthetics taken over and- dare I say it, become ‘cool’?

Of course, geek fashion is just a bi-product of the technological frenzy that has taken the modern world by storm in the last fifteen years. Apple’s ‘Think Different’ campaign, instilled the view in people that the brains behind such technology were on the same level of Einstein and possessed the same creativity as Picasso.

The death of Steve Jobs in 2011 turned him into an entrepreneurial deity and had the world in admiration as we studied his achievements as a business man in the technological field. Within the first week of his biography’s release, 370,000 copies were sold in the US, making it the top-selling book in the country book in the country in terms of weekly sales.


Money, music and even art are now made on computers and of course that kind of makes the person making computers a musician or artist- kind of. An interesting study done on the website Techcitement, also shows the rise of terms such as ‘geek’, ‘nerd’, ‘geeky’

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As you can see there’s an incredible surge in the use of the words ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’ from 1980 to 2008, it seems that the noun is the center of everyday language just as the words ‘Facebook’, ‘Snapchat’ and ‘Instagram’ have all become part of our vocabulary. Our very language is indeed defined by our technological interaction, terms such as: ‘LOL’, ‘OMG’, ‘BFF’, all text/ internet abbreviations have even been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. If you tried to explain that to an alien, they would probably think the human race were a bunch of raging nerds.

With films like ‘The Social Network’ coming out about Facebook and ‘The Internship’ about Google, and the new HBO series ‘Silicon Valley’, the subject of bio-epics and the heroes of the screen are the men that pioneer the internet and social media. As Jan Koum (Whatsapp founder), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google founders) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder, of course) enter the world’s richest list, these are not only the men of the future but those we want as future husbands. Women swoon at men saying ‘ I just released a new app’ over ‘I just bought a new car’. It’s not because we want them to set our e-mails up on our iPhones, it’s the well-known and natural attraction of women to power, (and sexy tech support is just a benefit).

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Another huge factor is that as 90s kids we were the first generation exposed to the pixely beauty of video games: Gameboys, Nintendos, Tamagotchis and to this day I still proudly mention my level 90 Charzard. Even model Cara Delevigne makes gaming fashionable by claiming to be an avid X-box fan. There’s a reason why we spend hours crouching over our parent’s shoulders trying to teach them how to attach a photo to an email. It’s because as we grew up, computers grew with us. Before you were passing notes, then suddenly you could chat over to your friends over this thing called the internet (we all remember those long MSN sessions). Suddenly you could send your ‘crush’ a smiley face, an xoxo, and even-gasp-a love heart just by the touch of a button. We are the technology generation, it’s as simple as that.