Tuesday, 4 August 2015

R.I.P The Hipster

Stop everything. Take off your bowler hat and put down your non-fat chai latte, you might want to sit down with this one. The hipster has been pronounced dead, as of the day when everyone became one.

The amateur sociologists and cynics have seen this one coming for a long time, but it was only today that I reluctantly accepted it. Interested in the rise (and rise and rise) of hipster fashion trends, I googled the “New Hipster,” to find out what the 2015 hipster looks like.

The answer? Look out of your goddamn window, or in a fashion magazine or turn on MTV. If you’re greeted with at least one plaid shirt, unkempt facial hair, or someone sprouting off about austerity despite not knowing shit about politics, you’ve come face to face with one.

My favourite celebrity try-hard hipsters

I’m not hating on hipsters for a minute- I’m a self-confessed hipster, and proud of it too. I’m a 19 year old studying the arts, and think I’m better than everyone else because I can tell you about Marxism and New Historicism.

Yet the essence of being a hipster is pretending you aren’t one, which kind of defeats the purpose of defining yourself as part of a subculture.

So why has the hipster met a tragic end? Simply put, it’s a trend that everyone is now over, like chinos or harem pants (although I hear they’re making a comeback thanks to the hipsters, obviously.) Because everyone is now a hipster, the word, its origins and its whole ideology has lost its meaning. A subculture can’t carry on being one when everyone is part of it.

If you are fervently anti-hipster (which if you are, are you either a. wearing an anklet or b. writing in your blog about how anti-hipster you are,) you may be wondering how it became popular in the first place. The hipster represents the free thinker, the creative whose imagination expands beyond that of their wide rimmed glasses, who appeals to the Peter Pan generation. These are the twenty-somethings who never want to grow up who, despite having several degrees, are disillusioned with the corporate and cold outside world and what it has to offer them. The hipster, with their carefree #longhairdontcare style and liberal social and political attitudes, is their route of escapism and self-expression.

Glastonbury 1970

Glastonbury 2015

Ever wondered why all hipsters look the same? According to an actual study conducted by an actual mathematical neuroscientist named Jonathan Touboul, “trying hard to be different often ends up in hipsters consistently taking the same decisions, in other words all looking alike,” he concludes in The hipster effect: When anticonformists all look the same. He also goes on to state that hipsters are too slow to respond to trends, so maintain the same one.

If the embodiment of a hipster actually went hand in hand with its meaning, hipsters would have to change their style and their attitude constantly, in order to continue being anticonformist. This is not only impossible, says Touboul, but also insanely difficult to maintain.

As a practicing hipster, I concur. Being a hipster, or at least trying to be one, is exhausting. I’ve lost count of how many times I haven’t bought something because it was too brightly coloured or girly, and therefore in my mind deemed “not hipster enough.”

I ordered a Hype backpack over the internet today, and almost had a meltdown because it was branded, and thus not hipster in the slightest. If anything, it’s wannabe hipster, which is even worse than being an actual hipster. But it was a really nice backpack and a total bargain at £28, PLEASE DON’T SKIN ME ALIVE.

My instagram is a hipster haven

Complete with a really angsty passage from 'The Catcher in the Rye'

It was afterwards, whilst crying into my chai tea that I realised how ridiculous I was being. I wanted to become part of a so called “sub culture” that rejected you if you didn’t conform to what they stood for. Wasn’t I being a conformist for making my hair pink and wearing clothes with elephants on, all because they were things I saw on Pinterest when I searched “hipster?”

Hipsters are kind of arrogant born on the principle that if everyone has it, they don’t want it. But guess what, everyone now owns a beanie and has an opinion on avocados, okay? And guess what, consumer culture has caught wind of this. I mean, apart from Tesco now selling more avocados than ever (probably,) apparel stores have now tapped into the habits of the hipster.

Contrary to the belief that hipsters get all their clothes for bog cheap down at the local charity shop, hipsters actually buy a lot. Following my dedication to the hipsterhood, I practically had to throw out half of my wardrobe to make way for oversized shirts and jeans with holes in. Cue having to go on a massive shopping spree to Urban Outfitters (which isn’t actually that hipster at all now, by the way.)

According to a 2010 by the Journal of Consumer Research, “normal” people purchase things because of the emotional value behind it. However hipsters are a mind-boggle to marketers because they buy things that are counter to their emotional interests. They are more likely to buy things that they subconsciously hate and then convince themselves that they are not following “the trend.”  

I was this close to spending £80 on this oriental looking cape from H&M, before my Mother pointed out that I would end up looking like the magic carpet from Aladdin.

These “mainstream” stores reinvent themselves as their target market does, not the other way around. Take a certain store that I work for with a certain seagull emblem, selling clothes you used to beg you Mum for in Year Eight (although lil’ hipster me declined to participate in such mainstream activity.) Now, everything they sell is either boho chic or tragically hipster, meaning I want to buy everything so it’s a good thing I get a 50% discount.

With this in mind, I don’t personally think that the hipster is dead. I think its original meaning is, but I think the practice of being a hipster is evolving rather than disintegrating. In a very popular article by writer David Infante, he defines what he calls the “Yuccie-“ Young Urban Creatives, who are ingrained with the belief that they do not only deserve to pursue their dreams, but that they should profit from them too.  The conspicuous consumption that once set hipsters apart, Infante discusses, “American Spirits instead of Marlboros, iPhones instead of flip phones, pork belly instead of bacon- has gone mainstream.”

The hipster-turned-Yuccie owners of the Cereal Killer Cafe

Your average Yuccie

The hipster hasn’t died, they’ve just grown up. They’ve realised that they want to be creative, but have to get a job that will pay the bills. They’ve realised that if they are to get ahead creatively, they need to accept the internet and consumer culture as inevitabilities, and even a helpful marketing tool. They’ve realised that although their Masters in Anthropology makes them educated, it doesn’t actually mean shit in the big wide world.

Hipster has gone mainstream; but you were over it anyway, right?

Also published in www.spiceukonline.com/ 

A note from me... I know it's been a while since I've posted anything, so feel free to throw tomatoes at me. I've been super busy travelling the world and conserving the planet. Jk, I've had some serious Netflix catch up to do. 

No, but honestly, I've been busy *on holiday* and writing for #SpiceUKOnline, they're a really fantastic website so be sure to support them by clicking on the link above! 

More posts to come. As soon as I've finished Game Of Thrones. I promise. 

But as always, thank you for reading and continuing to read this blog.

Love Georgia 

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