Why Being “Indie” is a Bunch of Bunk

The indie movement has been a defining factor in the survival genre, but it’s time to reevaluate what that label means. Does being indie mean you’re beholden to anyone? Is there any meaning behind “indie” other than just not having funding from a major publisher? As indies push for new changes, they are also pushing away the name of their own group and redefining what Indie actually is..

The “indie subculture” is a term that has been thrown around lately. It’s being used to describe artists and musicians who are not signed to any major label or company. However, the term is really just an excuse for people to be lazy and not do anything about their music.

Indie hipster illustration slinging records.

The word “indie” has a nebulous definition. The designation, which was formerly limited to underground music and films that were not produced or funded by huge companies, may now be applied to a whole culture. Even so, it’s difficult to pinpoint precisely what it signifies. As a result, I turn to Wikipedia, a fantastic and trustworthy resource:

“To be independent from the mainstream is the most broad meaning of the term. The term has come to be connected with a subculture that is distinguished by its music, clothes, behavior, and beliefs. Indie culture is a way of living that adheres to social trends that are thought to deliberately stray from the mainstream. Anti-conformity is a frequent concept in indie culture.”

Many others have pointed out the irony that indie culture, while attempting to be distinct and autonomous, has established a rather consistent and easily recognized look, including the Wikipedia page from which I took that statement. Indie fans want to stand out, yet they’re surrounded by individuals who wear the same clothes, see the same movies, listen to the same “underground” music, and spout the same anti-bourgeois ideas.

However, such a point is overused and oversimplified. I’d want to look into another reason why being independent is a load of nonsense.


The concept of being independent from the mainstream lies at the heart of the indie identity. Indie folks do this through purchasing non-mainstream clothing, CDs, furniture, books, cuisine, and concert and movie tickets. They go to their local Thai restaurant instead of Chili’s; instead of Wal-Mart, they go to Whole Foods; instead of picking up the new Coldplay CD, they buy an album from Blood Red Shoes; instead of shopping at the Gap, they shop at American Apparel; and instead of buying a Dell, they buy an Apple (sure, they’re a big corporation, but they’re so cool). But, amid all of this, what is the common denominator? Money is being spent. Consumption. Indie folks demonstrate their independence from the mainstream by doing the most conventional thing possible: defining themselves by what they consume.

It was fashionable a decade ago to wear garments with a company’s emblem emblazoned all over it. The Nike and Gap logos were proudly displayed as honorary badges. These days, such attire is ridiculed; instead, customers seek things that seem to be distinctive or old (even if that “vintage” shirt costs $40). However, the basic purpose remains the same: individuals continue to express themselves via their clothing purchases. It doesn’t matter whether you purchase free trade coffee, organic apples, and handcrafted Guatemalan carpets instead of products from major companies; your personal identity is still based on your consumer identity. You’re motivated by a desire to eat something before the rest of the world. It’s a fresh twist on “keeping up with the Jonses” for the new century. It’s still as conformist now as it was in the 1950s.


Of course, there’s nothing wrong with appreciating specific types of music or apparel; a guy may be interested in and consume all of the aforementioned independent goods while still maintaining his personality. However, far too frequently, such consumerism is used to purchase an identity rather than putting in the effort required to create a true one. Such accoutrements give you quick hipster kudos, but they don’t do anything to change your inner man. There’s nothing cool about a man’s identity being reduced to a garment that can be put on and taken off.

You don’t have to be defined by what you purchase or don’t buy. Values, ethics, and what you really do should all be used to define oneself. Allow your actions to speak louder than the sarcastic message shirt you’re wearing. Do you want to be really self-sufficient from the rest of society?

-Rather of numbing your mind with entertainment, use your leisure time to assist others.

–Exercise virtue

-Avoid being rude.

–Abandon “finding oneself” in favor of commitment and accountability.

-If you want to go camping, don’t wear outdoor clothing.

-Rather of spending a lot of money to seem like you buy at a thrift store, go to one.

-Be real and enthusiastic rather than cynical and snarky.

-Don’t only purchase clothing and phones that benefit a good cause; become a good cause yourself.

-Involve yourself in politics rather than simply buying a bumper sticker.

-Grow up and stop acting like a boy.

Suburban Cowboy created this image.



The “indie fashion” is a term that has been used for years. However, it’s not the best way to describe your style. If you’re looking for something new and fresh, then you should try out “Fashion Week”.

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