From Maboneng in Johannesburg to Bandra in Mumbai, Neukölln in Berlin to Gulou in Beijing, and Crown Heights in Brooklyn to Hackney in London, hipsters are everywhere. Their distinctive look (beards for the men and ironic retro cardigans for the women) and very particular consumer tastes (most recently, a combination of cream cheese and food colouring that’s called unicorn toast. Yes, really; it looks good on Instagram) make them a highly visible subculture. Hipsters are often associated with art, makers, other creative fields and the tech industry. They’re mostly millennial middle-class professionals. They are also, as I’ve found in my research, considered socially progressive. That’s because they’re often affiliated with progressive political and cultural movements built on socially liberal ideals like anti-racism. They are environmentalists. They champion women’s rights and queer rights. Many follow vegan diets. But my fieldwork also shows that hipsters are a paradox. They appear...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now