How to Be a Hipster: 5 Shaker Students’ Views on What it Takes

According to senior Shala Miller, “hipster” is a loose term. The more positive connotation with the term is a “hip” kid who is “unique and different.” Although, Miller added, “the negative side, which I hear the most, is someone who …HAS to be different… they try too hard to be cool and unique, and they all end up doing pretty much the same thing.”

Senior Ian Mercer agrees with Miller’s complex view of hipsters, noting that “a hipster is no one thing.” Mercer said that being a hipster is “a collectivization” of one’s clothes, tastes and personality into “one dynamic creation.”

Junior Ian Clark feels that hipsters are “distinguishable by their trendiness”

Whether a hipster is unique naturally or by choice, there is a clear outline of how this uniqueness becomes a reality. Junior Ariella Altchouler is hesitant to call herself a hipster. Altchouler said, “a lot of people randomly tell me they think I am one,” adding that many people think this because of her hairstyle; bleached with one side buzzed.

Miller said, “I think a true hipster would think I’m too ‘mainstream’,” citing her interests in popular music and fashion.

Mercer stayed close to his definition of a hipster when describing what makes him unique. “I pride myself on owning things, watching movies and owning clothes that others don’t have,” Mercer said, adding “the most hipster thing about me is bragging about how I do stuff first.”

Freshman Maeve Scully said that the “most hipster thing about her” is her style, pointing out that she was one of the first of her friends to sport a pixie haircut.

On the hippest places in town, the group is consistent: Coventry is a hipster hot-spot. “The hippest place in town is Coventry, hands down,” said Miller who attributes this to unique clothing stores and a hip music scene.

Similarly, many of the students felt that downtown Cleveland is also a hip scene. Altchouler cites places like The West Side Market, the Asian market and local art studios as being the highlights of downtown’s hipness.

Also of upmost importance to hipsters is there sense of music. Indie bands are generally preferred, although Altchouler adds a more in-depth meaning to the musical tastes of hipsters. “I love bands and artists that have songs for every emotion and the best is if I can relate… to the lyrics,” Altchouler said.

Though it is clear that hipsters are unique and trendy, the bonds of hipsterdom aren’t absolute. “Whatever, I don’t care,” Miller said referring to her deviation from the standard hipster mold. “Gap has cute clothes and Beyonce is a legend.”

A version of this article appeared in print on 21 November 2011, on page 11 of The Shakerite.

To read more about Hipsters, check out Alex Rich’s article “How to Be a Hipster.” 

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