The “Hip” in being hipster: Kean’s hipster culture

By: Sonia Aquije


The Hipster scene has boomed from TV shows like “Girls” on HBO, “Portlandia,” and movies from “500 Days of Summer” to “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.”

They have catapulted the subculture into our mainstream world. People are asking themselves, what’s so cool about being hipster? Can I be a hipster?

Hipsters are usually people in their 20s and 30s who indulge in being different in music, political views, arts and overall social scene. They don’t like acknowledging they’re hipster, but they know if they do or don’t fit the category.

The Oxford Dictionary defines a hipster as “a person who follows the latest trends and fashions.” However, it isn’t just about fashion, it’s a lifestyle.

But, where do we draw the line on who’s hip and who isn’t? Are Vinyls the new ITunes? The 2013 Grammy Awards were dominated by the Black Keys, Mumford and Sons, Gotye, and Fun, all either indie or folk. So is hipster, in a sense, mainstream now?

Bohemia has returned with a twist of urban, even at Kean University. On a Friday morning in Kean University’s Starbucks and Christopher Hopkins was seated, also known as Oatmeal Johnson.

Hopkins, 19, is a junior and information technology major, but most importantly a hipster. Hopkins believes the hipster subculture has become mainstream.

“It was an entire subculture based on what people weren’t doing,” said Hopkins. “Now that there’s a whole bunch of people following the same trend, it’s probably going to die out like the emo phase in the seventh grade. But, if you’re an artist it’ll stick with you.”

When people hear the word hipster they think of cigarette smoking, skinny jeans, chunky oversized glasses, V-necks and scarves in the summer. They are ultimately people who listen to a lot of underground music and shunning  mainstream society.

“Pretentious hipsters are the ones who brag and the ones who try imposing their ideals on you, like music taste,” said Hopkins.

There are two types of hipsters: the regular hipster and the pretentious hipster.

“Regular hipsters are people who say hey it’s all about the music man, art and style,” said Hopkins. “They’re the people who don’t care what kind of music you listen to; they’re accepting.”

You have probably seen hipsters at Starbucks cafes and at Kean University. They usually gather outside of the café when the weather permits in packs of at least four.

They smoke their American Spirit and Marlboro cigarettes nonchalantly. They have an air of cool; they’re different from the norm, and that’s what makes them rad. Who else wears a fringed brown leather jacket, torn jeans and loafers?

Hipsters make the scenery at Kean University with the men’s facial hair, and the handlebar moustache. They dress in band or ironic tees, skinny jeans, flannels and beanies.

The hipster women usually wear vintage looking dresses, torn shorts, crop tops, high wasted pants, band tees and perfectly straight, sometimes colorfully dyed, ombre hair.

Stephanie Ubillus, 20, junior and economic major, knows what hipsters are all about.

“Hipsters are narcissistic,” said Ubillus. “From the way we dress, to what makes us who we are. We are good at what we do and we know it.” Ubillus, wearing a boho blouse, black leggings and combat boots, is very particular of what she wears.

“Basically we mix everything from every generation that’s good,” said Ubillus, “because our own generation has nothing to offer.”

Yet, what exactly is a hipster, and how have they become our generation’s subculture? What are hipsters all about?

They’re certainly not hippies. The hippies were all for peace, love and changing the world

with their ideals. They were a counterculture that was colorful in terms of clothing attire, music, and lifestyle.

For hipsters, there is no agenda set against society, or drive to change the world. This is one of the biggest defining differences between the two.

“It’s all about the style; it’s all about the art,” said Hopkins. “Hipsters are laid back, they’re on the sidelines.”

Hipsters listen to a variety of music ranging from indie, folk, blues, jazz and classic rock to house music.

Hipsters are mocked and that’s probably because they don’t follow society’s norms in terms of dress and lifestyle.

“People hate hipsters because they think they’re all a bunch of pertinacious nerds who think they own the world, when we actually don’t,” said Hopkins.

As both a musician and hipster, Hopkins’ message to the world is self-fulfilling.

“You meet a lot of people and you can connect with them over music,” said Hopkins. “People with similar ideals; it’s a common ground. I’ve made friends with a boat load of musicians; some have even become part of my band, the Gigabytes.”

But, there must be a cool factor in being a hipster.

“Be an individual as much as possible because you want to do it, not because it’s considered a trend,” said Nick Conte, a junior majoring in special education, considers himself a hipster.

He’s dressed in black vintage jeans, plaid flannel and a newsboy cap. Hipster philosophy is all about the image and your actions.

“The cool factor of being a hipster is, like any kind of counter culture, like the hippies in the 60’s fought the status quo,” said Conte. “Or like the punk movement or grunge, you don’t want to be part of your parents’ generation. It’s pretty much being an individual.”

Ultimately, hipster subculture is about art appreciation with all its quirks, and irony.

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