So is it not hip to be hip anymore?

“Hipster”. By now, I’m sure everyone reading has probably heard this word thrown around to describe someone. It has a great deal of meanings now, some more relatable than others. defines a hipster as ” a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter”. What sounds like a common description for a large group of people has been boiled down now into an image, one which companies and a select group of consumers have been embracing recently.

So what makes a “hipster”? Some people believe it’s the type of music you listen to, or the clothes you choose to wear. Other people think it’s the attitude about the music and clothes you have also chosen to wear. “Skinny jeans, cardigan sweater, and listening to Neutral Milk Hotel…yeah, that guy’s a hipster”. Ironic sayings on t-shirts, listening to obscure music on their vinyl records, and drinking home-brewed fair trade blend coffee. These seem to be the most common conceptions of what classifies a person as a “hipster”. With such a large trend being developed, of course fashion companies are going to developing products appealing to the trend.

Like many fads from the past, "hipsters" are just an evolution from the previous popular trends.

Urban Outfitters and American Apparel are both companies that cater to a more “hip” lifestyle. Carrying a large variety of plaids, cardigan sweaters, and tight jeans, both companies have been considered a “hipster haven”. Both companies know this, have accepted it and are now running away with it. Urban Outfitters now sells 35mm cameras and Holga copies, because there is a common interest in those who some would call a “hipster” and their interest in photography. Also on their site, you can make your own screen prints, and even build your own fixed gear bicycle, both things targeting directly to those who are attempting to follow the “hipster” trend.

Walmart attempts to capitalize on the fixed-gear craze by offering a low-priced bike called "The Fixie".

Companies today are smart. They realize that the trend of “hipsters” including their fashion sense and their interests have been on the rise, and are adjusting to the demand in order to deliver what sells best. They also are targeting this demographic through their advertisements via email and internet ads featuring models who roughly resemble “hipster fashion”. The trend does not seem to be dying out any time soon, as more and more people are starting to embrace it for themselves, so we can expect to see more and more companies reaching out to these consumers in an attempt to show how “hip” they can be in order to sway them into buying from them. What it simply boils down to is another label for another trend that is ripe for the capitalization on, and it seems like many companies are doing just that.


-Joshua Vester, Hunter Wilson, Ashley Oliver, Molly Jacques

5 thoughts on “So is it not hip to be hip anymore?

  1. Re: urbandictionary’s definition of hipster. In my day they were called hippies. Hipster, hippies ….. evolution of a term and an approach to life.

  2. I think the main problem with this type of brand response is that it makes this subculture accessible to people who aren’t necessarily a part of it, but want the look or style it’s associated with. The entire appeal of “hipsterdom” is that it is not readily accessed by the mainstream–hipsters like to feel as though they are somehow unique or more creative than their mainstream counterparts. So this mass production of a style that is supposed to be authentic and unique may cause the original adopters of the lifestyle to abaondon ship and move onto something new once they decide that their old look became too everyday.

  3. As stated in this blog post, hipsters are generally identified by appearance, by the things they own. My best friend and I give each other “hipster points” for having items such as TOMS shoes, a Nalgene bottle, a Death Cab for Cutie CD, or a vinyl record. I feel that the entire hipster lifestyle has been turned into a commodity culture – the stuff “hipsters” buy defines their subculture. Fashion companies such as American Apparel and Urban Outfitters have caught onto this phenomenon. People no longer seem to notice that “independent thinking” (those clothing companies are making everyone look the same) and “progressive politics” are also part of what defines an individual as a hipster.

  4. Ah, hipsters. I think that it’s good for companies to capitalize on such a trend, but creates an ironic situation. “Hipsters” are trying to be unique, yet these companies are making such trends easily accessible, therefore making the hipster fashion more mainstream. Ironic, huh? I think you’re right, this trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

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