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Behind the Beanie Hats

Updated: Jun 22

Understanding the Motivations and Criticisms of Hipster Culture

The term “hipster” refers to a subculture of young adults and teenagers who embrace individuality, reject mainstream consumerism, and express their creativity through various forms of art, fashion, and music. Hipsters have made significant contributions to a cultural shift towards sustainability, independent thinking, and the appreciation of vintage or alternative elements, garnering both praise and criticism.

Hipsters are known for their vibrant and eclectic fashion choices, characterized by brightly colored socks, unique patterns, Ray-Ban sunglasses, skinny jeans folded above the ankle, mustaches, plaid shirts, beanie hats, and even full tattoos on their necks and arms. They have a penchant for classic typewriters, books, indie music, and a fondness for all things vintage. Their lifestyle often includes anti-mainstream attitudes, vegetarianism, smoking, and an affinity for Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. They can be seen wearing headphones around their necks, riding fixie bikes, and carrying vintage cameras. Urban areas and big cities are the usual habitats where one is likely to come across these individuals.

My introduction to the term “hipster” came through an intriguing image on my friend’s computer. It depicted a skinhead raising their middle finger to a group of hippies, labeled “1980 – bla-bla.” Below that, there was another illustration showing a skinhead doing the same gesture to a group of teenagers referred to as “hipsters,” labeled “2000 – bla-bla.” Although I was familiar with hippies and their countercultural presence, the term “hipster” was new to me.



The image struck a chord with me as it closely resembled the influences that shaped my own fashion choices. This sparked my curiosity to delve deeper into what it truly means to be a hipster and why they often face animosity from certain groups, even though I personally align with some aspects of the skinhead ideology. What is it about hipsters and their actions that generates such widespread criticism?

Conducting internet research, I gained valuable insights into the hipster phenomenon. It is important to note that the following information is not exhaustive.

Through a Google image search of “hipster,” I discovered that between 2000 and 2009, hipsters underwent several style evolutions, each with its own distinct label. These included “the Emo” (2000), “the emo redux” (2001), “the ashton” (2002), “the scenester” (2003), “the twee” (2004), “the fauxhemian” (2005), “the mountain man” (2006), “the vintage queen” (2007), “the Williamsburg” (2008), and “the meta nerd” (2009). Lifestyle posters from that era visually represented these different styles.


Paste magazine : Library of congress Print and photograps callection AP photo : Charles Knoblock.

While it remains unclear why specific products are associated with the hipster image, hipsters have undeniably played a role in creating new brands, fresh fashion designs, and unique styles. However, it is worth noting that some individuals merely imitate the creativity of hipsters, becoming passive consumers or imitators rather than genuine participants in the culture.

The essence of hipster culture can be observed in various videos on platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo. In Foster The People’s music video for “Houdini,” for instance, the band members play in a vintage room surrounded by retro skateboards, vintage bikes, and individuals clad in vintage clothing. These visual elements evoke nostalgia and authenticity, capturing the essence of hipster culture. Similar themes can be found in the music videos of other indie and alternative bands, highlighting the connection between hipsters and their preferred music genres.

In conclusion, the hipster subculture represents a movement of individuals who reject mainstream consumerism and embrace a creative and individualistic lifestyle. While there are criticisms and controversies surrounding hipster culture, it is important to recognize their contributions to the promotion of sustainability, independent thinking, and the appreciation of vintage or alternative elements. However, maintaining a balanced perspective when analyzing any subculture is crucial, as individual experiences and opinions may vary. By understanding the motivations and values of hipsters, we can better appreciate the diversity and creativity they bring to our society.

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