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When the hipsters co-opt your lifestyle


“Where did you get this?” Seana’s man-friend says to me, nervously pawing the Klein tools bag that I’m using as a purse. “You didn’t buy it at Urban Outfitters or something did you?”

“No. I stole it from S who bought it at the hardware store.”

He lets out a billowing sigh, “Well, that’s a relief.”

“It’s the hipsters,” Seana whispers, “they’ve taken over everything he’s into.”

It’s true. I look around their loft space, speckled by unintentional hipster goodness. The work boots, home-jarred peaches & pickles, and cans of PBR for starters. The wood working projects, shaggy curly hair (on head and face), and record player for seconds. And Seana isn’t helping, with her zeal for vintage clothing (which she posts on her shop GrandmaISH) and furniture that she has reupholstered with fabrics of teals and oranges harking back to the 60s and 70s.

“It’s bad enough. The shoes, food, drinks that are now all expensive…but not my Klein bags.” He launches into a story about his first Klein tools bag, which was white and glorious. He’ll send me a photo of it later. “They make really nice tools…and bags.” He looks wistful.

I’m not sure, but I think he’s mainly annoyed that his favorite things and areas of genuine interest are now trendy and expensive, meaning less available and accessible for himself. It must be annoying as hell, because he’s not spending his Saturday nights pickling and freezing homemade chicken stock because it’s cute and ironic. My guess is that he does it because that’s how he’s always done it. That’s how his papa did it, and his papa before him. Because hand-made, good quality things are just plain good. I keep thinking about what will happen when the hipsters move on. I mean, they won’t be wearing plano glasses and skinny jeans forever, right? What will happen to the folks whose interests and objects were taken over and then discarded? Will the originators of these trends then be seen as passé? Will the hipster items go back to being cheap or will they become obscure and difficult to find, even more expensive? Should we start hoarding Chucks now? I think they will move on. And when they do, watch out! The hipsters may be out for you and your lifestyle next.

7 thoughts on “When the hipsters co-opt your lifestyle

  1. I am curious about how you define “hipster”. I think about this on occasion and have discussions about it with friends. Who is a hipster and who isn’t? Is it defined by aesthetics – what you wear, how you talk or act – or something else? Is it a derogatory term? Would people label themselves as such? Etc. I still haven’t really come to a conclusion about it myself and am interested in your take.

    1. Nice anthro question there Amy 🙂 I think it’s become a bit of an insult because the term and associated style or taste have become so widespread. I think of “hipster” mostly as a lifestyle and sometimes possibly a belief system. But for this article, I did look it up on urban dictionary which calls it a “subculture” “state of mind” and “counter-culture” which pooh-poohs anything mainstream. So in that sense it should be constantly changing, perhaps akin to periods of art which reject or challenge the style or school of thought that came before it.

  2. I feel B’s pain, I encounter the same scenarios. From a clothing standpoint, I’ve been called a hipster recently even though I haven’t changed my style in decades. It does feel like an insult, but then again who doesn’t look like a hipster these days?

    1. Maybe it’ll pass and you can have your style back to yourselves 🙂

  3. so right on. I have been a furniture maker /woodworker for almost 14 years, (and yes I have tattoos) ive seen it become such a hipster thing to dol. and most of them don’t even take the time to learn the trade and instead expedite it by simply saying they are woodworkers and buying a saw. theres so much more to real woodworking than that, but these hipsters and all their connections get real paying gigs, and have watered down the industry and have taken what i and many other woodworkers have held sacred and have blown it up into a trend and a mockery. and im sure people see me and think im just another hipster woodworker. thanks for writing this.

    1. So the hipsters have co-opted your lifestyle, friend. I hope some people manage to differentiate between those who simply have the woodworking accoutrements and those, like yourself, who truly practice the craft and dedicate real time and energy into it. Best of luck and hang tight until the hipster herd passes through onto something else.

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