Martha Stewart: Hipster Icon


  • The Martha Stewart Show

We make a lot of fun of the New York Times and their “what’s happening in Williamsburg” trend coverage, but sometimes, everything falls together and the world makes some semblance of sense.

Namely, that craft-happy youths have fully embraced Martha Stewart. “She’s like the Jesus of the craft world,” said one woman who designs and sells miniature animals.

Even while Stewart’s overall audience is declining, readership among 18-34-year-olds has recently shot up by 40 percent, the number of women in that age group who watch her video tutorials has gone up by 172 percent, and stores like Urban Rustic now prominently display her books. “The truth is, in my own little Alphabet City tattooed way, I’m uptight too, and I like to do things right,” said a vintage t-shirt designer who goes by “Tony Stinkmetal.”

And, you know, once you get over the shock of feeling really old, this makes a lot of sense. If you’re gonna craft, you might as well do it right, and there are worse ways to turn into your parents than taking DIY tips from a known, frighteningly rigid and reliable source. Plus, street cred is apparently very important in the world of high-end crafting, and a lot of Stewart’s newer fans cite her 2004 stint in prison for insider trading as something that actually makes them like her more.

Aside from her disdain for tattoos (“I don’t think they have to go quite that far,” she told the Times. “They could put embroidery on their jacket. They could silk-screen a T-shirt”), Stewart loves the hipster community right back. The Editor-in-Chief of Martha Stewart Living dubbed their audience “the intersection between Colonial Williamsburg and Williamsburg, Brooklyn,” (we’ll leave that one alone), and Stewart has taken to featuring small-batch Brooklyn companies and sponsoring competitions for young business owners.

Which, good, in theory. But bad things can happen when you extend your brand too far. For instance, one might point out, that pumpkin rice pudding recipe I found on a Martha-Stewart-endorsed site that ended up as poopy looking pot of cinnamon-flavored slop congealing on my stove over Thanksgiving weekend. For instance.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.



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