Hipster Nation: The Inherent Indie Inside All of Us


Tori Yonker

You know those American Eagle jeans you’re wearing? Someone rocked the distressed tight jeans before it was cool. Someone introduced the indie into the mainstream, and the so-called “hipster” is the one that makes it happen.

The “hipster” is the essential go-between, the middleman who sets the mainstream trends. Hipsters are not defined by what they wear or what they listen to; they are defined by how innovative they are, what new things they bring to the table. And by this, I mean that anyone and everyone can be hipster in some small way or another. This might seem contradictory to the term “hipster,” but think about it; none of us are exactly the same. We all bring something new to the surface, so before you start judging the girl with feather earrings, remember that you are probably guilty of riding a fixie or chiefing some American Spirits every once in a while.

The term “hipster” has become so derogatory that it is only associated with trend followers of lumpy sweaters and Doc Martens. In reality, however, “hipster” is simply a subculture founded upon individuality; anyone can be hipster if they have their own ideas. We put too much stock in the label; “hipsters” are hip, nothing more, and nothing less. They are defined by fashion style and music choice, but fashion and music have so many facets and sub-genres that it is impossible and downright unfair to lump “hipsters” into one category and assume that they’re all the same leather-jacketed, cuffed-pants indie boy sitting in a corner smoking Lucky Strikes. If you bothered to get to know said hipster, you might be surprised to find out that he listens to Wiz Khalifa just as much as he listens to Neutral Milk Hotel.

Look around you, hipster haters. Everything you wear, everything you listen to, was indie at one point in time. You can’t deny that we are all attracted to newness and originality because in a world of billions of people, we are all drowning in a sea of sameness, desperately grappling for anything that might credit ourselves with an ounce of uniqueness in our tiny, tiny lives. The anti-hipsters hate on the “hipsters” because they have already drowned. The hipsters are still clinging to their individuality, ebbing and flowing on the surface with happily floating vibes that trickle down to the unoriginal below. If you are judging hipsters, you are judging yourself. We all have a little hipster in us because we all want to find something that keeps us afloat.

We, as humans, tend to group others into a blanket label because of how we look or who we spend our time with. We compartmentalize because it’s easier to see thousands of people at once rather than one person at a time.

Our lives are circular, curling back into themselves and overlapping with the lives of others. We are individual, yet we are all overwhelmingly ordinary. No one is wholly hipster or wholly mainstream or wholly frat boy or wholly sorority girl; so, although society will never allow it, I say screw labels and just try to stay afloat. Because none of us are wholly original, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t strive for a bit of originality in our lives. And this, in my opinion, is exactly the hipster mentality; simply to do what makes you happy.

So here’s some food for thought, hipster haters: next time you hate on high-waisted shorts, remember that mainstream is hardly a good thing; it’s merely the leftovers of what the hipsters have already exhausted. And remember that “hipsters” are not looking for the hipster label; they’re just looking for something different. In the words of Wolf Gang, we are all desperately trying to voice our “silent cry to be something unusual.”