It's Hip to be Square: The "Ironic," New Wave Lifestyle in America
They follow indie bands and camp out at Occupy movements. They have most likely heard of that quirky, under-ground coffee house before you did. They only eat organic, vegan food and wear vintage, ironic t-shirts that you obviously don’t understand… this is the new-age “hipster.”
The social classification of a “hipster” is a sub-culture defined as a person following current trends or fashions. A trend that originated among young artists that lived in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn has now become a nation-wide way of life and a state of mind. Hipsters are known for making what is old new, which is relevant during the time of a shaky economy.
“What’s funny is that people who aren’t hipsters generally express distaste for them and those who appear to be hipsters hate to be identified as such. Everybody hates hipsters… especially hipsters,” said Peter Furia from Time magazine, founder of Seedwell Digital Creative Studio in San Francisco.
The term “hipster” comes from as early as the 1930s or the 1940s, when the term “hip” from the jazz age became synonymous with middle class white teens wanting to emulate the lifestyle followed by black jazz musicians. Some say the term hipster is a derivative of “hop,” a slang term for opium, while others believe it comes from the West African word “hipi,” meaning “to open one’s eyes,” according to Dictionary.com.
Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20s and 30s that value independent thinking, liberal or independent political views, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, witty banter and an alternative lifestyle. They are also seen as avoiding the mainstream styles and known as non-conformists.
Hipsters frown upon the consumers that support the mainstream ways. This sub-culture also has an unfortunate reputation for snarky remarks, narcissism, sarcasm and pretentiousness.
“The twenty-first century hipster praises pop culture through fashionable irony and sarcastic wit. Nothing is sacred to the twenty-first century hipster; everything can be made fun of. I find it an amusing scene to be a part of at times. But at other times, I’m disgusted by it for its pretentiousness and its lack of substance. Sometimes you will find too much narcissism and vanity,” said self-proclaimed Virginia Beach hipster, Robert Smith.
The current trend within the hipster sub-culture that makes a hipster stick out is their love for everything and anything cat related. They love cat prints, taking pictures of cats and owning a plethora of real cats and bragging about it. Strange trend or not, this is what’s “hip” with the hipsters right now. They also love playing “photographer” and taking vintage pictures of trees, cats, old school records and their friends doing ironic things.
According to How.com, there are steps to follow to adjust every aspect of one’s lifestyle if they want to live a proper hipster life.
Fashion is the first element one must alter, as it’s one of the most important things that make a hipster stand out as a hipster. You can find typical hipster-ware at any H&M, American Apparel, Urban Outfitters and Forever 21. Hipsters are anti-labeled gear, as that’s seen as too consumerism, so they can’t purchase anything that might be too mainstream, such as Hollister or American Eagle brands. They also particularly like styles and patterns that you probably have never seen before and are pro-creativity.
The two main components that hipsters must always complete their outfit with are skinny jeans and big-framed, ironic eyewear. Skinny jeans are favored by hipster men and women. High-waisted, floral, mom pants are also acceptable.
The hipster-pants philosophy is “the tighter, the better.” Thick-framed, nerdy eyewear is also favored by most hipsters, with brands such as Ray Ban being the most popular. Some hipsters wear eyeglasses just for the fashion statement even though they have perfect vision, because all they care about is looking acute and agile to those “commoners.”
Hipsters have their own niche in culture with a unique lingo, humor and self-expression. When it comes to “hipster lingo,” it is made up of extreme sarcasm and attitude. Hipsters like to namedrop indie bands they’ve just seen live at that secret club downtown and if you have never heard of them, they might scrutinize you for not having knowledge up to their standards. Hipsters also love dry humor, often seen in British comedies.
Time Magazine came out with the top 10 most hipster cities in the U.S. The first three are Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. These cities were chosen because of their reputation of counterculture, independent boutiques, thrift stores, thriving art and music scenes, underground coffee shops, and other hipster-friendly amenities. Other cities lower on the list included Austin, New Orleans and Portland due to their amount of tech-savvy residents (mostly with Apple products) and cutting-edge restaurant and microbrewery selection.
All in all, hipsters are harmless. This hipsterfication trend is a state of mind and might last for the next 20 years or might die out by 2013. But for now, we can all sit back and let the hipsters do their thing, cat pictures and all.
By: Alyssa Narvell
Arts & Entertainment Editor