Types of Hipsters: Part Three

The final installment (for now…) of my dirty hipster dozen. Thanks for indulging my recently re-awakened fascination with all things hipster (and excuse the momentary breach of my antiblog’s “no irony” policy… I promise that my interest in this stuff is as earnest as hipster scholarship can possibly be!).

9) The Ex-pat brangelina.jpg
Otherwise known as the jet-setting international kid or the hostel-hopping backpacker, the Ex-pat hipsters are those who can’t stay in one place for more than a year. They spend summers in Australia, winters in Chile, and spring breaks in Spain. Their passports are prized possessions, and full or exotic stamps. These hipsters are typically multi-lingual and well versed in international relations. They work hard and spend almost all of their money on traveling, though often they combine work and travel by getting jobs or internships abroad. They are frequently big on humanitarian causes, and often do stints in Africa or other Third World countries. They are wayfaring, Lost in Translation-type existentialists who lack any sense of “home.” Sidenote: this particular brand of hipster is disproportionately high in Christendom, what with the globetrotting, YWAM-esque missions sensibilities and all…

  • Fashion: Backpacker/safari/European. Jeans, hiking boots, all-weather outerwear. L.L. Bean for the preppies in the lot. Thrifty cheapness (H&M) for the others.
  • Music: All about transition and changing moods, and typically more international in scope than other hipsters. European folk, French ambient, etc… Air, Blur, Ray Lamontagne, The Frames, The Jesus and Mary Chain, M83.
  • Movies: Never really in one place long enough to see a lot of movies—more about DVDs-on-laptop-while-riding-trains. Even so, they do have a soft spot for road movies and cinema that ponders things like time and impermanence. Favorite directors; Richard Linklater, Yasujiro Ozu, Sofia Coppola.
  • Celebs of this kind; Ethan Hawke, Ewan McGregor, Chelsea Clinton, Angelina Jolie, Prince William.

10) The Activistba_war25_181_mac.jpg
Hipsterdom has long been tied to that most expressive rite of democratic passage: protest. In the 60s the cause was clear: the Vietnam War. In the 80s and especially the 90s, the causes became much more diverse and decentralized amid the explosive information age. Today, hipster activism is usually anti-war or anti-globalization, or otherwise economic in nature (fair trade, third-world debt, etc). Activist hipsters make their voice heard in many other social causes as well: urban poverty, education, civil rights, etc. They take pride in being “in solidarity” with the trampled-on and disadvantaged in life, and often live in the midst of them. Though not nearly as violent or lawless as their Vietnam-era forbears, these activists are certainly passionate and feisty, especially during elections, summits, or large political gatherings.

  • Fashion: Che Guevera chic (formerly turtleneck-and-beret mod chic). Sometimes militaristic, lots of army-surplus, t-shirts with hand-written messages or pictures, etc… Varies a lot though, as Activist hipsters come from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds.
  • Music: Political-minded rock vis-à-vis Rage Against the Machine, or some of the more retro, Vietnam-era protest acts. Any music remotely resembling subversive political messaging is welcome. Radiohead, Gorillaz, Bob Dylan, Nirvana.
  • Movies: Pop-expose documentaries are big, as in Michael Moore or anything from Participant Productions. Movies with messages of something to say politically are preferred over neutral entertainment. Favorite directors: Steven Soderbergh, George Clooney, Walter Salles, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach.
  • Celebs of this kind: Leonardo DiCaprio, Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Rosario Dawson, Alec Baldwin, Green Day.

11) The Health Nutmatt_lancerun.jpg
This type of hipster might trace its origins to the hippie communes that dotted the countryside during the 60s rebellion against McDonalds consumerism. The organic, “live off the land,” “we hate preservatives” attitude of these hippies is alive and well in today’s assortment of “tight-abs and Power Bar” health junkies. These are the hipsters who run a lot, frequent stores like GNC and Wild Oats, and participate in the aerobic fitness craze du jour (pilates, yoga, tai-chi, etc). They enjoy the outdoors and shun most television or “couch-potato” behavior. Mostly they just look really tanned and toned all the time, and pair off among themselves when it comes to dating (because who else can live up to those standards?) Places like Boulder (Colorado) and the Pacific Northwest are the breeding grounds for this hip phenom.

  • Fashion: The latest in sportswear and comfortable running/cross-training shoes. Eddie Bauer, North Face, Nike, etc. Lots of fleece and outdoorsy-fabrics. Sunglasses tend toward the wrap-around, ski styles. Beanies and visors are the headgear of choice.
  • Music: Hodge-podge. Tends towards mid-level, harmless alt-pop like Keane, Coldplay, The Shins, with occasional interest in shimmering psychedelia to the tune of The Flaming Lips or Polyphonic Spree. For workout-inspiration, however, lively rap and hard-rock are allowed: Jurassic Five, Linkin Park, Jay-Z, etc.
  • Movies: See Yuppie, with a bit more of a classy sports-movie/inspirational twist. Obscure sports documentaries like Into the Void, Murderball, Spellbound, etc are favorites. Foreign and specialty films are preferred over mindless couch-potato fodder.
  • Celebs of this kind: David Beckham, most young Olympic stars, Lance Armstrong, Matthew McConaughey, Madonna, Neve Campbell.

12) The Emo-Gothrose_mcgowan.jpg
Goths, as we know them today (not as in medieval Eastern European vampires), seem to have emerged sometime in the 70s or 80s. Since then they’ve been a mainstay of “alternative” lifestyle, and have scared scores of parents and church ladies over the years. Goths are pretty easy to pinpoint (their appearance is among the most predictable in hipsterdom), but vary widely in demeanor and background. A lot of the slightly overweight kids from junior high with the “Mean People Suck” buttons become Goths in their later years. Usually indoors types (white skin is a badge of honor) big into computer culture and gaming, they don’t get out much except to nighttime concerts or to another Goth’s dwelling place. The Emo-Goth is easily the most threatening young person to the establishment—and in his/her cigarette-puffing, dramatic-bangs-in-my-eyes swagger, The Emo-Goth is proud of such an abrasive position.

  • Fashion: Obviously, lots of black. Black clothes, black fish-net stockings, black hair (most likely died, with streaks of various sorts), black nails, black eye-liner, etc. Tends toward the freakish, with dungeon/S&M touches here and there (spike bracelets, leather, you know…). Suits and dresses are welcome, though they must be sleek, dark and mysterious. Proper hairdos include the “one eye shrouded” look, which says “the world is too dark and painful to look at with both eyes.”
  • Music: Music is huge for these hipsters. 80s noise bands and goth pioneers are big heroes. Current new-wave throwbacks are goth-friendly as well. All things twisted, urbane, industrial, and “dark eye-shadow”… The Cure, Depeche Mode, NIN, Interpol, David Bowie, Fiona Apple, The Knife.
  • Movies: Hard to pin down. Goths are sometimes science-fiction and fantasy fans, with a penchant for comic-book adaptations, anime, and/or “Matrix-esque” fare. Others prefer concert films or drug fodder (i.e. kids movies and/or 50s sci-fi) Favorite directors: Peter Jackson, Wachowski Brothers, Hayao Miyazaki, Ridley Scott (older stuff), Richard Kelly (the guy who did Donnie Darko).
  • Celebs of this kind: Edward Furlong, Juliette Lewis, Amy Winehouse, Marilyn Manson, Rose McGowan.

29 responses to “Types of Hipsters: Part Three

  1. Beware anal edit: do you mean “Touching the Void”? (Heath Nut films)

  2. Pingback: Types of Hipsters: Part Three : Celebrity News Corner

  3. was jus researching on globalisation and stumbled across this website. quick question.. do you think jeans are the most in-your-face example and/or proof of globalisation?

  4. Brett, though I have enjoyed your hipster series, I admit I resent it at the same. I suppose I understand the fascination with creating categories for people, hipster or otherwise–all of North America is obsessed with image. I wonder though, as a person concerned with the genuine, what benefit is there in explaining people in these terms? Something about it seems to reduce them to mere mortals–when we both know neither of us has ever met one. We are every day rubbing shoulders with potential gods and goddesses. Even hipsters, whatever classification, have a very real and I suspect accessible earnest self that if we took the same time to acknowledge as we spend dissecting their classification, we might just have the privilege of glimpsing the weight of glory in another–even a hispter.
    ps. My hedonsit self loves that you chose my Oxbridge dance off as a visual representation for christian hedonistic lifestyles!

  5. Pingback: Fashion » Types of Hipsters: Part Three

  6. hmm. i don’t know anyone actually interested in politics who listens to Rage Against The Machine.

  7. Pingback: How to spot a Hipster « Club Fritch

  8. Interesting post and delineation between the different types of hipsters. Great post. I think that I, too, have come to admire hipsters a great deal. It makes me want to live life and be a little more vibrant, travel the world. Your ex-pat example (mixed with my previously uneducated view of hipsters) makes me think of these videos for some reason: http://www.roomforyourimagination.com. My favorite video is from room 223 called Labels. It’s so hilarious! Gymnasts is good too! You need to go check it out! These videos are awesome…I work with them so I have the inside scoop!

  9. There’s “real” cool and then there’s “fake” cool…

    The connection between the various types of hipsters is that they are all snobby posers- insecure people “trying” to be cool but who aren’t really cool except within the small microcosm of their world. Living in Portland, OR hipsters are a dime-a-dozen joke. It’s just become funny to rent a video and the clerks behind the counter are all tattooed and pierced with tight jeans, studded belts, buddy holly glasses and unwashed hair. I worked with a whole bucket load of them at a “hip” Portland music store and they were the absolute most boring “I’m just going to stand around looking apathetic in my indie rock shirt” bunch of nothings I ever met. It is a shame to live in such a unique place as Portland and be surrounded by people who think they are unique but cannot even be themselves enough to be honest about what they really like and what is a front. Hipsters are proof that “Artists” are sometimes the most closed-minded, unoriginal people out there…that is if they bought one of the artist-hipster packages. Hipster music stinks too: The White Stripes, The Shins, The Killers, Sleater-Kinney- give me a break.

    • Hipster is the new mainstream maybe. Shallow, contributing nothing, class-ist instead of racist. The inside-outside bullshit of their ‘scene’ is the worst of high school culture and none of the things that oppose it. Still I like the Hot Rock.

  10. This will all mean nothing in 20 years except to prove that our generation is the most self-centered generation to ever exist. God help us.

  11. hilarious. i only must add that in the pacific northwest we shun nike, north face, and eddie bauer and embrace REI as if it were the whole foods of the outdoor world.

  12. Yawn

  13. Love this – I think I’ll print this and next time I visit San Francisco with my girlfriend, we’ll have a guide to help figure out who’s-who

  14. cool…loves emo gothic

  15. I think you forgot a brand of hipster that I affectionately refer to as the Crafter Hipster, which seems to be particularly popular within Christian circles here around Knoxville. This genre of hipster is comprised chiefly of college-aged and twenty-something year olds. The girls frequently obsess over knitting, crocheting, and other “crafty” pursuits, while almost all of the boys play an instrument. If art hipsters had babies with their indie cousins and made the yuppies godparents, these would be their children. Frequently found in “safe” downtown areas or sprawling university campuses, these hipsters are friendship focused (particularly within their mutual friends circle), tech-savvy, and generally involved in some type of artistic pursuit–particularly photography/singing&songwriting.

    Fashion: these girls come from a variety of economic backgrounds, so thrift stores are favored equally with J. Crew, Target, and Forever 21 as staple stores. The true meccas for crafter hipster fashion, however, are found in online stores such as Etsy and Modcloth; if you can see the face of the person who made your clothes, or what you are buying is verifiably vintage, you’re golden. Similarly, Craft gals spend a great deal of time looking for patterns to make their own clothing. Toms, Chacos, dramatic scarves, and slouchy hats are also must-haves. The boys tend toward traditional hipster wear, favoring skinny jeans, Mr. Rogers-esque sweaters, and horn-rimmed glasses. Converse and Toms are also popular footwear choices, as are oxfords.

    Music: Indie artists, Up and Comers, and light, acoustic folk are common in this crowd, as are certain Christian artists. Often you will find them listening to music by their friends. Drew & the Neighbors, The Civil Wars, Elenowen, NeedtoBreathe, and Wakey!Wakey! are favorites, along with almost anything available on Noisetrade.

    Movies: A specific genre of movies isn’t essential to this crowd. From Harry Potter to Inception and Good Will Hunting, the cinema tastes of Crafter hipsters is extremely varied, especially because they don’t spend an astronomical amount of time watching movies. They prefer to spend their time Stumbling knitting patterns, drinking tea and cooking, having bible study, or otherwise focusing on their community of friends.

    Celebs like this: There aren’t a ton, but Drew & Ellie Holcomb are often held up as the epitomy of a perfect marriage and lifestyle, combining art, love, and Jesus with seeming ease.

  16. I forgot to mention The Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons under music. They could also fit under the Celebs category.

  17. I didn’t notice any sources for any of this hipster scholarship. It all smacks of assertions. Is this purely work of opinion, or do you have something to back up what you have asserted here? I would suggest that you are missing a large part of the picture by posting this.

  18. Naomilomilomi

    Funny Article! This whole hipster craze does have it’s good and bad points… Sometimes people can mistake genuine nerds like me for people that are cool and just following fashion trends (until they talk to me of course)… on the otherhand, I approached a guy in a bar the other day wearing a shirt saying
    “It’s pitch black, you are about to be eaten by a grue.”
    I was like “Wow! You play Zork too!”
    He was like “Zo-what?”

  19. 20+ years later, here I am reading this, while watching Flavor Flav teaching some mickey mouse hipster nerds how to say “yeah, boyeee…”

  20. I think you forgot “working class intellectual.” I think that is considered really cool somewhere. I think Mike Watt would be one. Alan Meyers (devo) another. Plumber, copy of some kind of high lit on the dashboard. I’d exclude “servers” as working class here. They are their own thing apparently. Artiste would probably not be a hipster because hipsters contribute nothing in the way of art, most times. Not sure yuppies are hipsters.

  21. Funny list. I would have liked to see fixed gear hipster on the list however. Here in chicago they are running amok and play in bike polo tournaments. They seem to exist all over hipster city meccas …

  22. i really enjoyed reading this. it was surprising to find a little of myself in all of these :) obviously i havn’t found my specific self yet. someone should add hair to these descriptions!

  23. Another good one! And for the third time I say, there is a big stereotype about all hipsters being douches so I recommend that people investigate a little before they make their opinion about a certain culture. Cheers!:)

  24. Pingback: » Why don’t people understand hipsters, triangles and this “hipster stores” blog. Hipster Stores

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  26. The Health Nut, and The Detached Ironic, in my opinion aren’t “Hipsters”. Nike, Hollister, The North Face, are all very mainstream brands.

    Also, on all the articals out there saying Hipsters may be the new mainstream – They aren’t. The fashions that hipsters have are just becoming mainstream, and this happens all the time. For example, snapbacks? Who started that trend? Hipsters. All the Indie bands that made it big, made it big because of hipsters going on Indie music sites and finding it.

    The fashions that Hipsters have right now is being overtaken by the mainstream, and hipsters will change aswell. As I said in the last paragraph, you don’t see any Hipsters wearing snapbacks anymore. Beacause they became mainstream, and they dropped it.

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