There is no concrete definition of a hipster, and many people have different ideas of what a true hipster is.
They are commonly known as people who go against mainstream trends, but are hipsters really different? American ones like to drink coffee and listen to indie music, but so do Europeans.
AAU student Mackenzie Magner believes “American hipsters are really just wannabe Europeans, and Europeans have a wider range of style than Americans are accustomed to.” She says the trend is just a new way for retail companies to advertise something different without actually being unique.
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines hipster as: “A person who follows the latest styles, fashions, etc.” yet it seems the more widely held definition is someone who tries to stay away from the latest styles. The problem is, being a hipster has become such a phenomenon that defining a group growing so rapidly is next to impossible.
Many people who, by rough definition, would fit into the hipster category don’t like the term. Is it because being labeled into a subculture is too mainstream?
Student Christina Cordes says, “People have told me I’m a hipster, but I just like to think I have a more random style than a lot of girls these days. I’m not trying to be hipster or mainstream, I just wear things I like.”
In Europe is filled with places thought to have high hipster populations, although people such as Magner would argue such groups are just being trendy. Prague has its share of hipsters and they all tend to group together.
If you are interested in upgrading your style to have more of a hipster edge, the first thing an American should do is throw out all brand name clothing and go thrift shopping for a new wardrobe. However, according to student Sarah France, “The male hipsters in Europe dress very metro. They take a lot of pride in their style…you don’t just throw on something you think your grandpa would have worn and call it good.”
It’s safe to say making references to musicians like Katy Perry or American stores such as Vineyard Vines will get you nowhere in the hipster world, no matter what continent you come from. If you walked into a bar like Café V Lese in Prague 10 wearing a North Face jacket you probably won’t get the best looks – but if you come in looking like the rest of them, you’ll be accepted immediately.
There are many styles that most people would label hipster, whether it’s themetro, colorful fashions of Europeans or the cross between hippie and grunge that’s so common in America. Both looks are distinct, but somehow everyone seems to understand that they are both hipsters.
The term has become a sort of adjective for our generation, with things like “I love your glasses, they’re so hipster!” rolling off the tongue left and right. This may be one of the biggest reasons why hipsters are so bitter about being labeled: It feels like a fashion choice instead of a way of life.
American AAU student James Zongus likes to wear sweaters and nice shoes, but he would never consider himself a hipster. Zongus says he would rather be considered a hippie than a hipster because “hippies love everything and hipsters hate everything.”
The definitions will surely keep evolving and no one will ever know where the trend began – but there are definitely all sorts of hipsters in both America and in Europe.
By Eleanor Newby