Avant-Nerdism is gaining steam and will hit the mainstream in 2009. "Avantnerdiwhat?" you say. Zandl Group researchers, the ultimate trendspotters, define the term as "a stylish, cool or social person who engages in nerd culture; especially one who purposely embraces nerdish qualities with full awareness of the irony and/or symbolism of their action." Irma Zandl says this is the new creative class, with a "compact, eco-friendly, quirk and smart" aesthetic. Avant-Nerdism taps into retro style and reflects a more European sensibility. Avant-Nerds are highly social; they merge a participatory DIY mentality with nerdy interests to make art, music and happenings/events. They ironically re-appropriate nerd culture, transforming the formerly nerdy into Avant-Nerdism. The aesthetic is influencing fashion, industrial design and interior design. Instances include the geek band Weezer, The O.C.'s Seth Cohen, and the rise of Spelling Bees and Wii and Cheese parties at hip bars and locales.
But then I started thinking of all the hipsters out there, the ones that are defining music, clothing, and culture in general, and it makes sense. Today's nerds aren't just smart programmers, they're programmers who listen to Arcade Fire while wearing slogan tees and cords, skateboarding to work. They've traded pocket protectors for trucker hats, super-scientific calculators for Wii.
So while I certainly don't recommend trading in your car for a skateboard, try embracing your inner nerd. You never know what cool thing you might discover.