Prole Drift

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Prole drift, short for proletarian drift, is a trend in which products, styles or other aspects of culture previously considered to be upscale or upper class become popular among working class people. Prole drift can also go the other way, as when things that were once the purview of the working class become fashionable in the middle or upper classes. The term was coined by, American literary historian, Paul Fussell in 1983 to describe the phenomenon of most aspects of high culture eventually joining the lowest common denominator.

Examples include sales of premium coffee, Burberry clothing or Coach Inc. handbags to working class people. Examples of reverse prole drift include Mockney, the skinhead and punk subcultures, hip hop, rockabilly, dressing down, slumming it (e.g. going to a working class bar) and NASCAR. BMW cars (particularly the 3 series) have also suffered from this phenomenon, in some instances the 3 series outselling more mainstream cars such as the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Vectra.


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