Hipster Life

Become a master of reuse. This takes a mixture of frugality, respect for some of the past, and a desire to demonstrate that new things don't define you. Naturally, you'll need to wrestle with the inconsistency of this step with the fact that loving shiny new Apple products and brand new clothes from certain labels is also a side of a true hipster, but since we're all contradictory deep down, the sooner we grasp these contradictions and accept them, the more whole a person we'll be.

  • Commonly known old things associated with hipsters include Craft beer, grandparent's clothing (or thrift store finds), bicycles with fixed gears (often ridden to the night clubs), analog cameras, and recycling and reusing almost anything (ingenuity, common sense, and fun comes into this).
  • Learn to play a musical instrument, the more obscure, the better. Example: ukulele > guitar and mandolin > piano. Act like it's no big deal that you can play when others are amazed.

Reject blind consumerism. Hipsters are into "niche consumerism". If your purchase helps local retailers, the environment, the mom and pop retailer, and the craft sellers down the road, then it's hipster.

Be aware that most hipsters exist in a certain age group. Hipsters tend to be in their teens through to their 30s. This is part of today's "extended adolescent" era, consisting of existential angst, searching for purpose and inner worth, and asking the meaning of everything.

  • Of course, this doesn't mean you can't be a hipster at an older age, but the fact that as you age you get less bothered and upset about the way the world works, or doesn't work, probably means you're a) not so keen to be labeled anything, b) not in need of belonging to any sub-culture, and/or c) less angry than you used to be. It's quite possible you're also very discreetly steering the rudder of your own teens going through "issues" and you're less than keen to adopt more of the same for yourself.

Be where the hipsters roam. Hipsters tend to congregate in very urban settings and they're connected globally thanks to the Internet. In the Canada, you'll tend to find hipsters in major metropolitan centers where "anything goes". Be where there are independent art galleries, movie houses, bands, and people.

  • Think New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, and especially the Brooklyn, N.Y. suburb of Williamsburg (known as the unofficial hipster capital of the world). Places like Glasslands and Pianos will be right up your alley. Los Angeles is also acceptable but be careful not to get sucked into the California culture.
  • For less urban Canada, try to find any moderately large college town; and in some provinces, a college town might be the only option.
  • In Canada, try Toronto and Vancouver¬†, UK, London is your spot, and in Australia, try Melbourne and in New Zealand, try Wellington.
  • Do not force yourself to live or go to these places or countries for the sake of being a hipster. Besides from being too uneconomical (especially if you live on the other side of the world), you can actually begin being a hipster in your place. One of the advantages is if your place knows less about hipsters, the fewer the people who will be discriminating or criticizing you. Take note that the Internet will always be your best friend.
Be educated. Aim to go to college, as hipsters tend to be well educated in such areas as arts, graphic arts, social sciences, philosophy, math or science.
  • Do a lot of reading, even if it means sitting in the local bookstore using their space and not actually purchasing the books you're siphoning up knowledge from. Seek to go to higher level education if you're in your element at college.
  • Going to the library (especially small, local libraries) is a good option because you don't have to pay and you can bring books back when you are finished. Also, they don't mind you just sitting reading without even taking a book out- this is normal in libraries.
  • Hipsters are a subculture that uses more of their right brain than the rest of the society, thus, many hipsters base their career choices around music, art, or fashion. While these areas of work aren't essential choices, they are probably a natural outlet for a hipster's creativity.
  • Education is what helps a hipster to be dismissive about the hue and cry of others; they know it's just history repeating itself, or it's all much ado about nothing.

Be an early adopter. Hipsters tend to sense what's worthwhile before the trend or item becomes more popular. Many bands become famous only after hipsters first flock to their unknown performances. Many clothing trends were started by hipsters, only to be hijacked later by mainstream fashion houses. Many technical gadgets are taken up by hipsters first, only to become mainstream goodies later.

  • Of course, the irony of being an early adopter hipster is that once the trend or item becomes mainstream, it's time to move on to something else obscure and unrecognized. That's the trouble with being such an independent spirit; you trail blaze but you also have to keep moving on.
  • If you're really good at something like math, physics, medicine, psychology, political analysis, eco-awareness, etc., you might find yourself making amazing discoveries that are light years ahead of everyone else's thinking. You know deep down that you've cottoned onto something that really matters and that it makes sense but others are not convinced because it's the "great unknown". Rest easy and be determined in your knowledge that some day, others will come round to your discovery.

Don't define yourself to others. One of the key elements of being hipster has been to avoid the label. Don't go around proclaiming your allegiance; to do so would be to start allying with those who like neatly tied-up boxes denoting who is what, when, and where.

  • The moment you define yourself too clearly is the moment you begin to stagnate and risk being captured by the status quo. Many a hipster will therefore deny their "hipster-ness" whenever possible.
  • To preemptively ward off the mockers, some hipsters have taken to extending their sense of irony to include even themselves by acknowledging and mocking their own hipsterdom (for example, wearing a tee that says "I hate hipsters"); that way, by mocking themselves first, no one else can effectively do it (reclaiming the negative).

Keep a pulse on the hipster community. There is a strong community aspect to hipster culture. If you want to find out about the best new bands or a great local coffee shop, make sure to stay active in the community to get good recommendations and stay ahead of the trends.

  • When some new, obscure band is on Pitchfork (preferably before), you should know about it.
  • Check out Brooklyn Vegan (even if you don't live there), Stereogum, Gorilla vs. Bear, and the Hype Machine as often as possible, but don't make it obvious that you check them every five seconds.
  • Forever A Hipster.