Whether you’re a hipster in your own right, or you’re just trying to inject some of that effortless hipster cool into your looks, it helps to know about the top brands that no hipster can seem to put down.
From Ray-Ban to Levis and everything in between, we’re going to cover the most iconic brands that you’ll want to look for to nail the hipster aesthetic.
What Gives a Brand it’s Hipster Appeal?
While it’s virtually impossible to nail down what makes a “hipster” a hipster, there are some defining traits that will help you decide whether a particular brand has that hipster appeal that you’re after.
In general, hipsters have a few universal interests. Hipsters appreciate anything that’s handcrafted or made in small batches, and that applies to everything from whiskey to denim. Basically, if there’s a way to show craftsmanship in the things you make, there’s a strong chance that hipsters will appreciate it.
They also tend to have a keen eye for detail and appreciate when brands go the extra mile to provide those under-the-radar accompaniments that can be easily overlooked.
Hipsters are most often found in urban environments, so they also appreciate any piece of clothing or accessory that’s practically made and helps them navigate through the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. So well-made bags and backpacks are another hipster staple.
Above all, hipsters appreciate clothing that’s built to last and can stand up to their daily grind, so you’ll notice impeccable craftsmanship when you look at products from each of these hipster clothing brands.
Denim from Levi’s
A quintessential American brand, Levi’s has enjoyed practically universal appeal from all consumers. From the guitarist of a gutter punk band to your dad on Saturdays, practically everyone wears Levi’s.
The brand came to fruition during the middle of the 19th century, and by the 1890s, they were already selling their iconic 501 jeans, which are still among the most popular produced today.
Of course, not every pair of Levi’s has hipster appeal. Classics like stonewashed 501s are always in high demand among the hipster set, along with more fitted silhouettes like their 510 and 511 skinny jeans.
For added hipster points, look for jeans from Levi’s made in America line, which often feature pants made from selvage, raw, or Japanese denim, all of which are buzzwords that make the hair on the back of a hipster’s neck stand up.
Ray-Ban: The Iconic Eyewear Brand of Hipsters Everywhere
Since their founding in the 1930s in upstate New York, Ray-Ban has come along way. Originally, the company worked with Air Force pilots to create eyewear that would help reduce glare and distractions for pilots in the cockpit. While their aviator glasses are still among the world’s most popular, their iconic Wayfarer shape is what put Ray-Ban on the map with hipsters.
Their classic Wayfarer and New Wayfarer shapes are the go-to sunglasses and eyeglasses for hipsters from all walks of life. Today, these silhouettes are available in tons of cool colors. But, for maximum hipster appeal, you’ll want to stick with a pair in black or tortoiseshell.
Shoes from the Van Doren Rubber Company, Better Known as Vans
Founded by the Van Doren brothers in California around the middle of the 20th century, the Vans company rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most iconic shoe manufacturers of all time, and their ties to music and hipster culture run deep.
Over the years, the company’s profile has grown, but little has changed about their shoes, which is one of the reasons they’ve held their hipster appeal over the years.
Beyond their utilitarian canvas shoes, they’ve also carved out a strong presence for themselves within music and the arts. Vans is the marquee sponsor of the iconic Warped Tour music festival, and they also sponsor skateboarding and surfing events throughout the world.
The Quintessential Hipster Accessory Brand: Herschel Supply Co.
The Herschel Supply Company exploded onto the retail scene about a decade ago, and they quickly weaved themselves into the fabric of hipster and youth culture worldwide.
While they’re best known for their no-frills backpacks and bags, which you’ll find on streets from Williamsburg to Portland, the company has expanded to produce a full line of hats and winter weather accessories, as well.
Perfect for the hipster on the go, Herschel’s iconic accessories are must-haves if you’re adding some hipster style to your wardrobe.
The Original Icon: The Converse Chuck Taylor
Created in 1917 to provide basketball players with specialized footwear designed for the rigors of the game, the iconic Chuck Taylor has come a long way since then.
While the shoe remains almost entirely unchanged from the original, the cultural significance and lore of the Chuck Taylor have continued to expand. From The Beatles to The Ramones to Modest Mouse, Converse Chuck Taylor’s have walked practically every stage in America.
Their legacy as the unofficial shoe of rock and roll didn’t go unnoticed with hipsters, so it’s no wonder they’re such a popular choice among the hipster set.
These days, Chucks are available in a seemingly endless array of colors and patterns. But, if it’s hipster style you’re after, you’ll want to stick with a classic black or white canvas pair.
Staying Warm With Pendleton Wool
Another iconic American brand with roots that stretch back well over a century, Pendleton wool, is universally coveted, especially among hipsters.
Today, the company produces a myriad of different products from their iconic wool fabrics. You’ll find coats, sweaters, shirts, scarves, blankets, and everything in between for men and women. Pendleton also regularly partners with other brands to offer their iconic fabrics to a broader audience.
Most recently, Pendleton has been working with Nike, Disney, and Shwood, which manufactures hipster-approved sunglasses made from exotic woods instead of metal or plastic.
A family-owned business since the 1860s, Pendleton is synonymous with hard work and craftsmanship, so it’s no wonder their products are so prized by hipsters everywhere.
Iconic Workwear From Carhartt
Carhartt may be the domain of construction workers, but they’ve also assembled a devout following of hipsters over the years as well.
Founded in Dearborn, Michigan, in the late 1800s, Carhartt is one of the most iconic producers of workwear in the country. They’re best known for their famous work jackets, which feature their iconic heavyweight duck canvas. Beyond jackets, they produce a full line of workwear, and they’ve also entered into the streetwear fold as well in recent years.
Hipsters have long been fans of anything that’s made well and built to last, so it’s easy to see why Carhartt has caught on with hipsters, skaters, and other fringe groups. Carhartt has further cemented its streetwear legacy through collaboration with brands like A.P.C. Their WIP (Work In Progress) line is also highly coveted among hipsters.
If you’re looking to incorporate some of Carhartt’s style and quality into your wardrobe, we’d recommend starting with one of their iconic tan beanies to keep you warm through the winter.
While UO isn’t a brand per se, they’ve become so ubiquitous to hipster culture that they may as well be. Urban Outfitters is a store that sells a curated selection of clothing, shoes, accessories, and housewares from popular hipster clothing brands like the ones on this list; they also make plenty of their own apparel under private labels and offer exclusives with various brands.
Beyond UO, the company also owns Free People and Anthropologie, which are two wildly popular brands among hipster ladies.
Urban Outfitters stores are a practical one-stop-shop for anything hipster related, so you may want to pop into one of their stores as they offer no shortage of ideas and inspiration.
Uniqlo is a Japanese casual wear retailer that was first incorporated around 1950. Since then, Uniqlo’s appeal among hipsters has grown, and they’re favored for their affordable clothing and accessories that can be described as cool, unfussy, and well-tailored.
Today, Uniqlo supplies clothing and accessories for the entire family, so whether you’re looking for some new flannels, the perfect pair of skinny jeans, or a new outfit for the kids, Uniqlo will have you covered with plenty of hipster style to spare.
Uniqlo is also no stranger to collaboration, and over the years they have collaborated with iconic artists like Kaws, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, designers like Alexander Wang and Takashi Murakami, and cultural icons like Disney.
Best of all, Uniqlo has established a global footprint, so you’ll be able to find their stylish clothes everywhere from Australia and Japan to England and the United States.
When it comes to hipster clothing brands, it can be difficult to pin down what does or doesn’t make something hipster-approved. But, one thing is for sure, there are some iconic brands that hipsters throughout the world can’t seem to get enough of.
So, whether you’re warming up in a Carhartt duck jacket, lacing up some Vans authentics, or buttoning up a flannel from Pendleton, look for some of the brands on our list to add a healthy dose of hipster style to your wardrobe.