If you wish to troll a species — like, really troll it — you’ll have the most success if you speak in a language it can understand. And the creator of the Antibrooklyn clothing line knows this better than anyone.
That’s why, when Juuso Myllyrinne sought to communicate with a particularly wily creature, the “Smug Brooklyn Hipster” (Gowanus kombuchis), he chose the discursive mode that would be most recognizable within its range, which now encompasses most of Kings County: T-shirts that look kinda old, or whatever.
And thus was born Antibrooklyn. Actually it’s just a joke. Mostly. “I’d say it’s half-joke, half–art project,” Myllyrinne says.
Antibrooklyn’s tagline basically says it all: “Ready to Piss Off Brooklyn?”
Myllyrinne says the idea to make T-shirts that proudly trumpet the precise opposite of Brooklyn values — like one that reads “Lite Beer or Nothing,” or another with “OMG I Love GMO” — was more about amusing himself and his friends. In fact, he bought the URL first, mostly because he was surprised it was available. It sat unused for a couple of years.
“Then I was having beers with friends, and we were like, what would be the most anti-Brooklyn thing we could put on this site?” Myllyrinne says. And the concept was born.
He’s quick to note that he’s not actually attacking anyone, he’s just having fun. “The humor comes from a good place,” he says.
It’s also far from a full-time gig. By day Myllyrinne, who grew up in Helsinki and has lived in New York for the past six years, is a digital strategist at a marketing agency. (In case you were wondering, he currently lives on the Upper East Side — about as Antibrooklyn as it gets.)
So far he says he’s sold about six of the T-shirts to people other than close friends. That would make these shirts extremely rare — and therefore, ironically, the perfect hipster quarry. The T-shirts are available for order at Myllyrinne’s website and feature ten slogans in all, including “I Click on Banner Ads,” “Support Your Local Chain Restaurant,” and “Wall St. Is Good for America.”
But the concept of Antibrooklyn raises a thorny question about hipsterism itself. Is a deliberately contrarian T-shirt anti-hipster, or does it actually unlock some kind of super, next-level version of hipster? If you’re so countercultural that you’re mainstream, doesn’t that make you countercultural again? Like, whoa, man.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 16, 2015