Today my blog entry is going to be less comical and more an on going observation of the people we label “hipsters”. For those of you who don’t know what they look like or who I am referring to I have added a picture above. Here is a little history of the hipster:
“Hipster is a slang term that first appeared in the 1940s and was reincarnated in the 1990s and 2000s often to describe types of young, recently settled urban middle class adults and older teenagers with interests in non-mainstream fashion and culture, particularly alternative music, indie rock, independent film, magazines such as Vice and Clash, and websites like Sthlm City. in some contexts, hipsters are also referred to as scenesters.”
Now I want to bring up a few points about their fashion, music, way of life but first I would like to say that my main exposure to hipsters is here in New York City and particularly Williamsburg, Brooklyn (which is apparently hipster village) so I am only speaking about what I have observed while being here. I haven’t seen any hipsters in the Midwest or in Florida when I go home…. So I am not sure where else they exist- LA probably.
The hipster look can’t really be defined in any specific way- which is what I love. I would say it is artistic, random, inspired, and grungy. I think of lots of black, mismatching patterns, boots, retro, basically anything that Keisha would wear! What I love so much about their ‘style’ is that each person is trying to hard to be so individual and non-mainstream but they have started a trend which is now the mainstream.
Hipsters have always gone against the grain to have alternative fashion, culture, and music choices. Unfortunately for them some famous fashion designer was inspired one day by this hipster/grunge look and decided they would introduce small pieces here and there on the runway. Soon after that the hipster look exploded! All I saw on the runways last spring were leather jackets with studded detail, black military boots, messy hair, black statement pieces etc. Basically the mainstream fashion world COPIED the hipsters!! They stole from them not only their style but their identity as a non mainstream culture. Now they are more mainstream than ever and it’s slightly sad. What will they dress like now?
Of course there are different levels of hipster which can sometimes be confused with gothic or emo. Hipsters are different from Goth’s who wear only black eye make up and black nail polish claiming to hate the world(even though they don’t). I think of hipsters as free. They are free of some of the ridiculous confines of our self absorbed, over indulgent culture. They wake up, wear what they want without a care in the world, go to work or don’t go to work and just live life. Many of the hipsters I know and have met are the nicest, kindest and most confident people. Many are artists who are making their way through life and trying their best to be an individual. I secretly envy their careless attitude toward designer things and the newest apple gadget. They are generally happy with just being themselves and that is something to be said!
With all their confidence and obvious style choices they do manage to draw quite a bit of attention and criticism. Do they even read about it or care? No probably not. Here is a description that was in the New York Times last year,
“Hipsters manage to attract a loathing unique in its intensity. Critics have described the loosely defined group as smug, full of contradictions and, ultimately, the dead end of Western civilization.”
I think calling them the dead end of Western civilization is a little harsh if not comical, but I do agree that their culture is contradictory since they do all dress like each other…but claim they are individuals who don’t want to be labeled. But individually they are true to who they want to be and I have not found one hipster to be smug!
Overall this is a culture clearly defined by their dress. As soon as I walk into some parts of Brooklyn I am like pleasantly greeted by hipster owned coffee shops and restaurants. I find the boutiques to be delightfully different from the same old chain shops we are bound to in Manhattan. There is no starbucks in sight and no one is trying to run you over to get where they need to be. The “hipster vibe” I feel is full of energy, while still being calm and wonderful!