social capital

Fashion Person Swears You’re Not Chic Unless You’re Ungoogleable

The Rich Kids of Instagram are freaking out right now.
Phoebe Philo (Getty)

Phoebe Philo (Getty)

Chicness has many components. Style. Elegance. Mystery. Ability to turn down between-meal snacks.

For designer Phoebe Philo, though, online nonexistence is everything.

“The chicest thing is when you don’t exist on Google,” she said recently, according to The Guardian. “God, I would love to be that person!”

The idea echoes WASP society’s old Three Times rule, whereby the well-heeled did their best to only appear in newspapers at birth, marriage and death.

Writers like A.M. Homes and bands like !!! have chosen unsearchable names in order to make like virtual ghosts, The Guardian reports. A similar name change is likely the only route to anonymity for people who’ve been floating around the Internet since the days of MySpace.

But for those of us whose collars are bluer than our blood, toning down the social media activity might be detrimental. As The Guardian points out, “social capital, unlike real capital, transcend[s] monetary wealth.” It’s easy for a successful designer who’s already made a name for herself to say online anonymity would be a luxury, but the rest of us depend on it for our livelihoods… or just validation.

Also, from The Guardian:

“If to be chic is to be anonymous, how will anyone know that you’re chic? How can you prove your status while not expressing it? To be chic minimally requires being seen or at least noticed.”

Serious conundrum. Either way, we’re not ready for the decade-old tradition of Google-stalking to die out in the name of chicness. We’d be pretty freaked out if someone we searched yielded no results. How else are you supposed to find out if your date is actually a serial killer?

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