What Really is “Hipster Culture?”


The term “hipster” can best be defined as a person who keeps up with fashion trends that lie outside of the cultural norm. When one used to think of a hipster, the image of someone who lives by their own rules comes to mind – the existentialists and the Tyler Durdens’ of the time. Today it seems that a hipster is anyone who can afford to do so. With social media networks such as Tumblr and Instagram, people are always looking for the next new feature that’ll set them apart from the rest.

Due to the capitalistic, and ultimately consumerist society, companies have found a way to monetize off of this craze to be different, even though it’s not really different. American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, Topshop, Asos and more are literally funded by the beliefs of millennials that they must stand out.

The irony of “hipster culture” is that it was meant to be a person who stood out, but instead, everyone looks the same. Purchasing items that’ll further reinforce the ‘sad girl aesthetic,’ ‘soft grunge’ or ‘90’s feels,’ it is ultimately dress up and doesn’t reflect the true ideology of a hipster.

A “hipster” is someone who naturally stands out and what’s considered popular naturally does not appeal to them. It’s not someone who goes out of there way to set themselves apart, because in doing so an entire group of others have followed and created a sub-culture of their own. How can one call themselves hipsters if a number of people standing next to them are wearing the same thing, talking about the same music, or have nearly identical Instagram feeds.

I think this issue lies much deeper than what meets the eye. Social media has made it so that people feel the need to constantly show off, thus furthering consumerism in our predominantly capitalistic society. People tend to gravitate towards, or try to emulate a person who stands out. Big businesses then found a way to monetize off of this innate desire to set oneself apart and thus we have everyone purchasing record players they hardly use, but take photos of because they’re ‘different’.

I find this topic incredibly interesting because there are persons who genuinely go against the grain and tend to not do what others are doing. But, if society is committed to making this person a trend, is there any room for anyone to stand out?