12 February 2009

Will The Real Hipster Please Stand Up?

Well then, let the debate begin. While it's not particularly pressing, I still find this cultural movement - the hipster movement - fascinating. In case you are unaware of what the heck I'm talking about, lets begin with a Wikipedia definition:

"Hipster is a slang term which appeared in the late 1990's and 2000's to describe young, urban middle class and upper class adults with interests in non-mainstream fashion and culture, particularly alternative music, independent rock, independent film, magazines like Vice, Clash and Adbusters, and websites like Pitchfork Media. In some contexts, hipsters are also referred to as scenesters. The term is sometimes used in a derogatory manner, referring to someone who moves from trend to trend while claiming to be outside of mainstream culture."

I'm going to do my best not to be judgmental, but if your whole identity is about avoiding the mainstream, then why do hipster hot spots for shopping include American Apparel and Urban Outfitters? What the Wikipedia definition left out - it seems - is the importance of irony. So is it ironic to shop at the stores, or is the irony adopted so as to be able to write off anything that doesn't quite "fit" as "ironic" and move on? It's like when people say you're being defensive. No, I just don't agree with you, but if you say I'm being defensive then you're writing off whatever I have to say as irrational and out of turn. I did some deeper digging and found the video above which is brilliant and basically sums it all up. A friend here (who is a genuinely cool, not stuffy hipster, unless that's him being ironic) had this to say:

"Some google searches for "hipster dress code" proved futile. there were some, but tips included "lip piercing" which is really NOT hipster. it's emo. idiots. too bad hipsters are too self-righteous to self-categorize.

uniform, in brief:

the skinniest jeans you own.

no patterns unless they were designed by some artist, or if they are loudly ironic.

think "irony" in general... though this is a messy tip, because there are certain TYPES of irony that fly and kinds that don't.

no sports trainers. canvas if possible. or old-man oxford shoes. those are big now.

you'll probably want some kind of scarf.

messy hair, or unnaturally coiffed hair.

well, basically this is how my image of a hipster dresses, ya? which (a) isn't like primo hipster, and (b) there are varieties of hipster, and (c) yeah. there is no (c) i was tricking you.

huh --? what else do hipsters wear? mmm.... i mean, usually hipsters, on a night out, like to have an article of clothing or an accessory that will garner them compliments, because that is how they meet each other... by complimenting clothing items. but, this can be a difficult play. because sometimes, i.e. when i last wore my monocle to electricity showrooms, a bunch of REALLY gross people hit on me. BAD attention."

So there it is. Hipsters demystified. Discuss.


Kyle Taylor

Special thanks to David Michon for supplying that overview.

1 comment:

shelby said...

So there I was at an (ironically) "MTV's Bromance with Brody Jenner" themed birthday/dance party in LA's Echo Park neighborhood, having a conversation with a young man in a very skinny tie about the awesome vintage glasses we were both wearing for fashion, rather than vision correction. You'd think there would have been early warning signs (having a Threadless account, owning 3 different kaffiyas, listening to Animal Collective) --but I swear I didn't know until that moment that I'm in serious danger of being a hipster.