The true irony of Urban Outfitters

"Hipsters" have overrun the nation, and Tempe is no exception.

They’re so common these days that anyone can easily point them out to you or at least describe them. They wear tight clothes with vintage patterns, strange bright colors and thick eyeglasses — even if they have perfect vision.

They sell their iPods for record players and trade in their beat-up Corollas for fancy new Lance Armstrong-esque 10-speeds. They read instead of watching TV, and they grow their hair out like the hippies of earlier eras.

Hipsters only eat at hole-in-the-wall places or food trucks that serve gluten-free pitas and hummus and gourmet grease. We all know what they look like, but very few stop to consider what they’re up to, or how they could possibly be considered part of a social movement of any sort.

The hipsters of the new millennium and their modern-day counterculture are doing something "cool" before anyone else figures out that it's "cool."

Americans unanimously agree on one thing: Something has gone horribly wrong with our country.

Decades of exposure to nauseating ads and big-name corporate brand names have left a bad, high-fructose taste in our mouths and made us forget about the mom-and-pop political agenda that America’s supposed to be all about.

We’ve got our priorities and our values all mixed up, and that’s where the hipster comes in.

Unlike the hippies who fought the man through "flower power" and freedom of expression or the punks who fought "The Man" through lip-splitting lyrics and leather, hipsters cleverly fight the man with their consumer choices.

That’s right: They fight fire with fire, money with money.

In other words, hipsters seek to siphon money away from the "1 percent," away from Wal-Mart and Starbucks and toward independent businesses, thrift shops and food trucks.

Rather than getting a latte at Starbucks, hipsters flock to places like Cartel Coffee Lab and, in doing so, ensure that their hard-earned money goes into the pockets of hard-working people like themselves, strengthening communities and weakening Wall Street.

Without the hipster, Tempe landmark store Eastside Records would have stayed dead, felled by widespread bad music taste and iTunes.

The most ironic thing about hipsters is that, for some reason, they lose sight of their path when it comes to the majority of their clothing purchases.

Urban Outfitters, the go-to shop for all things counterculture, is actually a complete farce. It feeds off and takes advantage of hipster culture like a leech.

It’s not well known that Urban Outfitters (as well as Anthropologie) is actually owned by a conservative man named Richard Hayne, who is the 262nd richest person in the U.S. and a big donor to the Rick Santorum presidential campaign last year.

As Lauren Kelly of Alternet wrote: “For Hayne, the young people and lefties who shop in his stores are just chumps to whom he can sell $69 peace sign tank tops while supporting conservative politics.”

It’s shocking that hipsters have been deceived by the company for so long, as it has subtly poked fun at its own consumers for some time, selling women’s T-shirts with the phrase “Eat Less?” across the front. Hayne even shamelessly admits his company’s use of sweatshop labor.

Hipsters have great intentions, but they’ve got to wake up and follow through.


Reach the columnist at or follow him at @MrJakeWAdler


Want to join the conversation? Send an email to Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.

Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.