North Texas Daily

Dissecting hipsters

Dissecting hipsters

August 09
22:00 2012

H. Drew Blackburn / Staff Writer

Nobody will admit they are one and everyone loathes being called one.

The hipster.

Spotted sauntering about in cities with a high concentration of 20-somethings and independent music like New York City, Austin and Denton. The telling signs of the hipster are Levi skinny jeans, gravitation toward independent music, an obsession with nostalgia, and most importantly a deep seeded abhorrence to being called a hipster. Actually defining the word is more difficult.

Aren’t Levi’s the most popular denim brand in America and essentially a bigger slice of Americana than apple pie? Isn’t nostalgia one of the most universal feelings of the human condition? Doesn’t being called a term that is considered pejorative upset everyone? What we have here is a paradox – a living, breathing, walking, and talking contradiction.

Associate sociology professor Gabriel Ignatow said that hipster-dom is essentially “a counterculture based around art and music, opposed in a gentle way to mainstream values.”

Those set of ideals among young people is nothing new. The Beat generation of the ‘50s, the hippies of the ‘60s, and grungy malcontents from the early ‘90s were all in the same boat. The hipster borrows cues from previous countercultures.

“If you define yourself as an opposition to the mainstream, you have to creatively re-appropriate fashions and styles from the past” Ignatow said.

The hipster is the sum all of its parts, borrowing characteristics from other generations, including style and attitude. Although hipsters aren’t picketing the streets like other generations, they are opposing the mainstream culture. They’re boycotting peacefully by expressing themselves through fashion, art, and music.

Popular hipster style choices include plaid, thick-rimmed glasses and ironic T-shirts.

“I think we all care about what people think, we just want them to think we don’t care,” Ignatow said. “It’s still fashion, still socially shaped.”

Music is a defining attribute of any subculture.  People tend to gravitate toward others that are just like them and have similar tastes.

“People that dress a certain way listen to a certain type of music. I think it all kind of goes together,” said Mad World Records employee Dave Koen.

Hipsters are just young folks trying to find their way in a wayward world, and deep down they want to be unique and fit in at the same time. So the next time you see some kid in skinny jeans listening to an obscure band don’t scoff or roll your eyes, or maybe just stop looking at yourself in the mirror.

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