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Defining the Millenial Post-Hipster

I’ve struggled to come up with an appropriate name for the post-hipster. David Infante, in a viral article for Mashable, took a stab by calling them “yuccies,” but the group he describes seems more like hipsters on steroids, rather than something new. I tried calling them “hipostates,” a mash-up of “hipster”, “post-”, and “apostate”, but that too failed a gut-check. All of which leads me to the conclusion that it’s the struggle for definition itself that defines Millenials with taste.

This ad for Google’s new Pixel Phone falls flat because of this misunderstanding:

The four sitting here are too defined. Even if we can’t easily slap the label “hipster”, “yuppie”, or even “yuccie” onto them, they all look the same. The casual vest and the bangs here all scream Christian Lander’s Stuff White People Like, despite including a black woman. They remind me of a few specific blocks in San Francisco and Brooklyn, where at 10 a.m., everybody comes out of the subway appearing like a well-dressed, creative professional who is aware of Burning Man, but not necessarily enamored by it, who knows HTML and JavaScript, but considers themselves more of an artist inside. Outside of this bubble, where the creative class is flourishing in slightly smaller cities, a better version of this ad would have greater diversity in age, body type, and class symbols.

Whereas the hipster was about diversity through inclusion, the post-hipster is about diversity through obscurity, through cultivating undefinable tastes for the sake of authenticity. In fashion, this diversity is subtle, such as the lawyer who has a neck or sleeve tattoo that peeks out of their shirt. Or the disheveled man with a beard and flannel who is actually a pediatrician. Invisibility or subtlety, it’s all the same, what matters is that post-hipsters elude grouping. If anything, this is an extension of the hipster instinct, which absolutely loathed the term hipster. It is probably the labeling and the focused marketing toward their demo (Urban Outfitters) that killed the subculture and forced them into this post-hipster world.

The post-hipster is staunch diversity in a single package. I noticed this while watching the evolution of my friends in Austin over 10 years. One of my friends is a new media philosopher who plays low-brow Spider-man video games and follows NBA stars on Twitter. Another is a part-time security guard / part-time comic book artist who has seen every episode of Survivor. Then there is the electronic musician who power-lifts and supports the semi-ironic revival of pro-wrestling. And there is the UX designer who does roller derby. What does this eclectic bunch have in common? Nothing. But collectively, they are tied together by the breadth and depth of their taste.

Whereas hipsters were generalists, post-hipsters are specialists. The young creative class, who is delaying marriage and having fewer children, has more time to delve into specific sub-cultures and then dice them up to suit their individual tastes. Hipsters, on the other hand, were too busy going out every night, leaving them with only enough time to throw on a Burberry scarf plus at least one ironic accessory.

So what do we call this post-hipster? Instead of “yuccie,” which is both ugly and non-descriptive, maybe it’s best to leave this group with their placeholder, the “post-hipster”, which is fitting since its main feature is to reject the ultimate umbrella label.