Before we begin – Just what is a hipster? Allow me to explain courtesy of an ever-precise Wikipedia extract and revered song “I love my life as a dickhead”:
Hipster (contemporary subculture):
“Hipster is a term popularly used to denote a contemporary subculture in North America, Australia and Europe primarily consisting of Millennials living in urban areas. The subculture has been described as a “mutating, trans-Atlantic melting pot of styles, tastes and behavior[s]” and is broadly associated with indie and alternative music, a varied non-mainstream fashion sensibility (including vintage and thrift store-bought clothes), progressive or independent political views, organic or artisanal foods, and alternative lifestyles. Hipsters are typically described as affluent or middle class young Bohemians who reside in gentrifying neighborhoods.”
Now that we’ve got the technical terminology out of the way… I recently came across this snobby article in Valencia Plaza about a group of Valencians who have made a website that is “the talk of the fashion ecosystem”. Have a read. Have a peruse.
First of all, just who do they think they are? You there – boy wearing the same white, collarless top as Vampire Bill from Bon Temps – Why are you stood on a chair? Get down! Aside from their complete disrespect for household furniture, it all sounds a bit narcissistic, right? The blurb on their non-self-assumingly-named site, hipstersfromspain.com, reads “Hipsters from Spain is a celebration of the creative individuals who are shaping Spain nowadays. A who’s who of the most talented people around.” Who or what are you meant to be shaping and what have these people done in order to play a part in your little “We’re better/cooler than everybody else” club? Can anyone join? I made a collage out of some old Scrabble tiles and a picture of the Virgin one time. Does that count?
I’ve always got a sour expression for anyone who openly and unironically defines themselves as a hipster but, after reading more, the fluffy jabber that they were coming out with soon made my expression turn from sour to angry. Here’s an extract from the interview:
-¿Existe una capital en España de los hipsters?
-Existen cafeterías muy bonitas con grandes mesas compartidas donde la gente merienda con su Macbook.
Jesus Christ. Are you being ironic or..? I could name a long list of bars in Valencia that right now fit this description. You may remember that I picked up on the pleasant yet wanky atmosphere of Benimaclet bar Cronopio or Ubik Café in Ruzafa. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Ruzafa is the most “hipster” neighbourhood in the city, closely followed by El Carmen and Benimaclet. But what makes it so? Extensive amounts of pretentious cafés playing obscure “oh-you-won’t-have-heard-of-them” music, vintage shops (“Hmm, yes, I like my knitwear with stench of old lady”), ecological food shops, record stores (for bands that are probably on this list of “Mathematically determined ‘most hipster’ bands around”), places with VEGAN FOOD!?
The hipster can normally be found in bars much like the ones described in the above quote. She works/blogs on her MacBook while drinking tea and artily arranging the contents of her table ready for her next Instagram photo entitled #hardatwork. She finds it difficult to see through her long fringe and lens-less, wide-rimmed glasses, and finds it hard to type thanks to extensive jewellery, sent to her for free because of aforementioned “fashion blogging”. May or may not have cat hairs stuck to her vintage cardy.
This being was once known as un moderno in Spanish, but the word hipster has slowly but surely crept into modern (lol) day vocab.
-César: Si entiendo hipster como el de Brooklyn: barba, bici, perro; lamentablemente no. Si lo entendemos como el nuevo “moderno”, sí.
-Vicente: Tengo un Mac, trabajo en moda y comunicación y llevo calcetines de colores. No creo en etiquetas; ni para mí ni para el resto. Pero puedes llamarme hipster si quieres.
You don’t believe in labels, Vinny? Can we just go over the name of your website again? Oh, right.
There’s no denying that hipsterism is one of today’s most recognizable global fashion movements. At its weakest, most diluted form, “hipsters” are OK. Cool, that’s great, your super-skinny jeans and denim on denim combo look wonderful – but it’s when people start talking like self-defined “Hipsters from Spain” à la the article above when we have to recognise that it’s gone too far. And people are starting to cotton on…
Various light-hearted takes on the phenomenon have recently come to light, including the It girl video by Oriol Puig Playà (above) about the drastic measures a laid off “Plain Jane” librarian has to take to make money for her ill partner. She transforms herself into an Internet It girl, attending parties, maintaining a blog, joining in with general, fashionable shenanigans, receiving brand-named clothes for free – and cries about it at night. The video has become viral and has been watched and shared tens of thousands of times in the space of a few days.
As a reaction to this, the graphic to the left was published on Twitter by celebrated artist and comic strip writer Raquel Córcoles, famed for creating Moderna de Pueblo. Moderna de Pueblo tells the tale of a small town girl who goes off to university in “the big city” and her consequent trials and tribulations – often related to boys and fashion. The book reads like a hipster bible, a hilarious tongue-in-cheek bible, but some sort of a warped hipster guidebook nonetheless.
As much as we hate those hipsters; the ones from the article; the ones posing on their laptops in Starbucks; the ones with a “cool” band t-shirt on, but they’ve never even heard of the band, just stop right now and take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror. Nice Vans you’re wearing (although I hear New Balance trainers are the new “in” thing)… Oh! That’s a nice beanie hat… What’s that? Your coat’s vintage? #postureo
We take the piss, and sometimes rightly so, but then most of us actually follow some of the trends too.
The It girl video is funny because it’s a comment on society, and we’re laughing because we know it’s true. Some girl with thousands of Twitter followers self defines as hipster, gets “Internet famous” and receives a whole new free wardrobe to boot. It’s fine to follow current trends, but there’s only so much hipsterism that people can take until they flat out call you a gilipollas.
And I think the majority of us, deep down, are a little bit guilty of criticising “the mainstream” – nearly as much as Córcoles’s new character El Cooltureta (right).
See you in the library-bar? Let’s just not get too pretentious about it, yeah?
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