Cultivate RVA


Keeping tabs on cultural developments in Richmond, Va.

The Economics of RVA Hipster Culture?


Excerpts from the article:

If you’ve noticed more tattoos, more non-conformist beards, more skinny guys wearing skinny jeans with skinny ties, and people generally looking like they belong in a rock band, you’re not imagining things. These exquisite creatures are called “hipsters,” and Richmond is teeming with them…

“I see it in their behavior on campus — the ideas students hold, the way they dress. One key thing of hipster culture is rejection — breaking away from other cultures they didn’t want to be associated with, so they created their own culture.”

And that culture is flourishing in Richmond. Proof? Pabst Blue Ribbon — a hipster staple because it’s cheap and so uncool it becomes cool — confirmed last year that Richmond is the third-largest market for the beer…

We’ve long been known as one of the most tattooed cities in America. Add VCU’s world-class art school and living costs low enough to sustain a boho lifestyle, and it’s no wonder that Culture Map Houston, an online magazine for Texans, said its unscientific poll named Richmond the “hipster city of America.”

…What’s a hipster, exactly? In short, it means living a lifestyle different from the mainstream. Irony is big, so things that are nerdy, outdated, conventionally “ugly” or unlikely to be appreciated by the masses are prized hipster possessions.

Hipsters don’t do Starbucks; coffee has to be local — the more known about its origins the better. Applebee’s? Not on your life. If a hipster does eat out — vegan, gluten-free, organic, locally sourced food isn’t exactly on every corner you know — the place needs a backstory, vibe and customers who understand sustainability…

…At least 35 jobs exist in Richmond now thanks to Lamplighter Roasting Co., a coffee shop just east of Carytown. In 2009, partners Jennifer Rawlings, Zachary Archibald and Noelle Archibald transformed a dilapidated garage into a coffee shop, and it now has a following so large it routinely draws crowds. Calling Lamplighter Richmond’s “best hipster coffee shop” might seem charitable — unless you knew how much that annoys the owners.

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