The excessively used term “hipster” has made a seemingly large impression on popular culture within the past 5 years. Portland, OR is one of the few authentic hipster destinations in America that has drawn in more than enough attention fostering the development of this sub-culture. But what about Portland caters to the lifestyle of the everyday hipster? First we must be able to physically identify the subject at matter. What are the demographics of the Portland hipster. Generally speaking, white male, ages 21-30, living in a metropolitan area and uses a fixed gear bike as his economical source of transportation. Why is a fixed gear such an important form of transportation? Because a skateboard is so 2002, a car requires polluting the planet and supporting the 1% of America that hipsters do not represent, a bus should only be considered in severe weather conditions or if a previous injury is causing you pain you would normally only associate with gun shot wounds or giving birth, a ride on the streetcar would be convenient but not when fareless only takes you from the Pearl District to PSU and riding a horse is just plain un-ethical but it would be cool because Native Americans did it.
What makes Portland such an amazing location for your average hipster differs from “person to person”. Some of the geographical indicators would suggest decent weather, a full four seasons and not too many signs for significant natural disasters. Oregon is known for being a state of exploration, in fact the last state explored by Lewis and Clark. It symbolically is recognized as what we refer to as the “wild west”. This ideal of freedom, prosperity and a new beginning has been an underlying factor in the development of hipster culture. For instance, the abundant wear of Pendleton wool flannels and Native American headbands could be considered a fashion statement or a fundamental exercise.
Going back to a more organic approach towards fashion or an eclectic approach with a compilation of the best from many eras has made the uniquely defined hipster stand out on the most eco-friendly roster. All senses of sustainability and consciousness during purchase or exchange for items directly concurs with the hipster philosophy to only buy what we directly need as humans and recycle what we have already created. The term “vintage” has covered up all trails for the enthusiastic shopper that takes pride buying recently produced state of the art clothing and accessories. Going back to earlier explorations of fashion is where the hands of the time wheel are set. Avoiding correspondence with the industrial revolution is not the direct intention of the hipster. However, by supporting large corporations that don’t shelter this prominent class of people and then vindicating these corporations by wearing their blatantly obvious icons would only seem hypocritical. To avoid this confusion it is more commonly renown that hipsters wear vintage clothing to avoid stereotypical trends that have died out with a less than glorious exit. A category every hipster avoids being placed in is the pseudo-individualization category. This would mean that the individuality intended by the weekly second hand clothing shopper had been falsified and he or she spent too much money at American Apparel. It is extremely important factor is that each person can define their self by choosing sentimental items without being corralled through a mall with bright lights and arrows. Being a product of society should not entitle you to sell yourself like a project and part of the hipster culture is exemplifying that idea.