Are We All Hipsters?

            In their articles Grief and Khaled try to solve the puzzle that is hipster. The term hipster brings many images to mind but a solid definition is still hard to come by. It is an insult to many to be called a hipster. Paradoxically the same people who view it as an insult seem to resemble a hipster themselves. We all seem to have a little bit of hipster in us, which makes it hard to pin down the definition.

In hipster culture if you did it before everyone started doing it, then you have that natural taste. Taste, according to Grief, was “the hipster’s primary currency” and “a means of strategy and competition.” (1-2) Hipsters can be broken down into subcategories, who use taste as a means to one up another. Educated upper middle class hipsters use their college knowledge to create cultural capital and be ‘cool’. In opposition the “trust fund hipsters” use their monetary capital to get cultural capital. June’s pin of Peaches Geldof and Cory Kennedy is the perfect example of this. Peaches, who comes from an affluent family, and Cory, who has the cultural capital, both maintain hipsterdom but like June said represents two different “groups within hipster due to their social standings.” Khaled calls these affluent hipsters “bourgeois bohemians or bohos,” which he defines as “an upper class subculture that espouses a liberal idealistic philosophy and carries consumer preferences for vintage, shabby-chic, and local, American-made goods.” Jake’s pin of the New Yorker cover depicts how mainstream media views the modern dandy as a hipster. According to Merrian-Webster a dandy, is “a man who gives exaggerated attention to personal appearance.” Both June and Jake lacked representation of lower-middle class version of the hipster, one who doesn’t have the culture or family money capital and an ultimate bobo. Alongside these pins they could have images of a celebrity, such as Johnny Depp or Michael Cera, who are often seen wearing vintage and items deemed as ‘hipster’ such as tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses but are upper class.

            June’s first pin depicts these stereotypes associated with hipsters and how hipsters are hard to defined because we all can fall into the hipster culture one way or another. Jake’s pin also depicts a stereotypical hipster wearing skinny jeans and a plaid shirt. Hipsters main concern is to look cool by knowing what is cool before everyone else does. Khaled states “hipsters try too hard to make it appear that they are not trying at all.” (6) According to Grief hipsters’ “pride comes from knowing, and deciding what’s cool in advance of the rest of the world.” (Grief 3) Hipsters pretend to not care but deep down this intense desire to look cool, which makes them an easy target to be mocked. Jake’s pin does depict a stereotypical hipster but does so in a mocking way. The image comes from “Look at this Fucking Hipster” tumblr, which posts pictures of seemingly hipsters with captions poking fun. Jake fails to mention this in his description. June’s pin depicts the ever-popular hipster meme, this one saying “Got drunk in Bobst before it was cool.”

            Hipsters appropriate and borrow other subculture’s style; “There are in fact associations between hipster styles of dress and cultural tastes and what is commonly referred to as ‘indie culture.” (Khaled: 4) Jake’s pin seems to reference that but is slightly confusing on the connection he was trying to make. The inclusion of the indie Sky Ferreira in high fashion commercialism delegitimizes indie as “a supplier of ‘meaningful’ clothes” is reflexive of the commercialization of ‘hipster’ clothing by companies such as Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, Free People, Modcloth, and Toms. It would have been interesting if he included an example more closely related to hipsters, such as a vintage concert tee from Free People.

            Hipsters search for individualism by trying to remain outside of the mainstream. This search for individualism can be seen in peacock revolution. The peacock revolution refers to when men started to pay more attention to fashion and wear more colors. Men’s fashion magazines and the fashion industry convinced men to become more interested in fashion by pushing the individual. Conformity isn’t cool anymore and fashion can help you become an individual.

            Frank describes the narrative of the peacock revolution as, “in the late sixties responsible, middle-class men of all ages abandoned the somber tones and severe styling’s of conventional clothing to follow the examples of the rebel young and their rock ‘n’ roll celebrities.” (8) June’s pin of Austin Powers depicts this shift. June could have included a pin that depicted the grey uniform suit from the 1950’s to contrast with the new men’s style. Men began to use fashion as way to demonstrate individuality, which can be seen in June’s pin, of Any Warhol.

            White discusses the men’s fashion magazine Details and how it “promises a new me.” (62) Details is a handbook of sorts that gives him instructions on fashion and entertainment of the youthful rebellion. The idea of taste distinguishing one from those around them is also at play in the peacock revolution. Magazine’s provided a way to determine taste. Either pinner could have pinned a cover of Details or any other men’s fashion magazine that promised this.

            White and Frank describe the peacock revolution as a way for men to escape conformity and achieve individualism. Gladwell describes the Docker’s campaign as an option to those that the peacock revolution didn’t speak too. Dockers sold conformity and form a non-fashion fashion. Either pinner could have pinned an example of a Docker’s campaign ad.

            The pinterest boards would have been more intriguing if an image from each of the readings was represented or at least more variety. Jack focused his board entirely on hipsters. June included at least two pins from the peacock revolution but both stemmed from the same reading. It would have been interesting to see how they connected and drew parallels between the two groups of readings. 

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