Northwestern has become a home to the hipster phenomenon, and there is seemingly no resistance to the deep V-necks and tight pants making their way across the Green.
NW students see them everywhere—the beanies, the skinny jeans, the ragged flannels, the facial hair and the androgynous haircuts. Yet, it seems like many students and staff are at a loss when it comes to defining who is and who isn’t a hipster.
“When it comes to clothing, they like to buy from thrift stores and when nothing ‘vintage’ or cool-looking is found, there is the back-up plan, Urban Outfitters,” said senior Tamara Smith.
Yet, it seems too simple to say that clothing alone can make a hipster. Perhaps it’s all about the attitude. Other NW students saw this as one of the population’s defining features.
“[A hipster is] someone who doesn’t go with the flow of society,” said senior Christine Roy. “That’s what makes them unique—they all have their own style.”
Junior Jordan Vermeer shared a similar opinion as Roy on what makes a person hipster material.
“A hipster is someone who tries to do things that are original or in some way ironic or quirky to the actual situation,” Vermeer said.
NW seems to be at a standstill with no single definition for hipsters. “[Hipster] doesn’t really define anything but it can begin to categorize someone or something, but it can’t completely define,” said NW Director of Service Learning Seth Currier. “It has become a term that we use to both define things that are in vogue in pop culture and things that go against pop culture (which usually becomes a part of pop culture).”
For many, the hipster fad is a new way of self-expression.
“To be yourself—that’s what it comes down to,” said sophomore Bradley Smith. “Don’t do what everyone else does just because it’s the normal thing to do. Each person is unique, so embrace that about yourself. Embrace your own quirks.”
Maybe hipsters are just a phase or this era’s version of beatniks, maybe they are more. Either way, the V-necks don’t look like they will be leaving campus very soon.