What is a hipster?

They walk among us – sitting in the same lecture halls and walking the same paths on the Quad. You’ve probably seen them exiting the closest Urban Outfitters or sporting the quintessential American Apparel v-neck. The hipster.

The term “hipster” has many implications, from lifestyles to mentalities to fashion. The rise of the hipster has only recently infiltrated pop culture and with such novelty, the definition of hipster has varied from school to school.

It seems that the term hipster has evolved to have a negative connotation, a means to tease and make fun of someone (“Why are you wearing those glasses, you hipster!”) The term itself, however, is just another adjective to describe someone, much like “jock” or “nerd.”

The basic assumption of a hipster is that he’s someone who promotes individualism, strays from mainstream and is all things ironic.

But what exactly is a hipster?

The origin of the hipster is one that has evolved throughout the last couple decades. According to Jeremiah Bohr, Ph.D. student in Sociology, the hipster has foundations in the Beatnik culture of the 1950s.

“Sociologically, I would put them in the category of what’s always been a middle-class counter-culture in the US,” stated Bohr. “(It started) with the Beatniks in the 1950s, which led to the hippies, which sort of led to the slacker culture of the ’80s — and now what we see is hipster culture today. There are always variations, but there’s also a lot of similarity between that line of counter-culture.”

The hipster is someone filled with contradictions, or as the Internet has popularized, filled with irony. According to Bohr, a hipster celebrates and embraces his uniqueness, but it seems as though they all look alike.

The hipster is also very retrospective and imitates the fashion styles of yesterday while looking forward to the next thing before it gets big.

At the University the hipster is one who fits the stereotypical image. While hipsters are not exactly understood yet at the University, spotting them seems to be relatively easy.

The hipster’s uniform is that of a flannel shirt and skinny jeans, rolled to just below the knee, an American Apparel v-neck, and thick-rimmed glasses.

“I would identify one predominantly on how they dress,” said Helen Celewicz, senior in LAS. “So if I see someone who’s living in Urbana riding a Schwinn bike, I think of kind of pretentiousness. But I think well of them.”

Though the hipster is someone who promotes and states that they are individual and unique, these are just a few stereotypical signs that may label someone as hipster.

How ironic.