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What is the Indie Style?

By Tara Barnett
Updated May 21, 2024
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Indie style is short for independent style and is characterized by an interest in handmade and unique items rather than items made in a factory. In many cases, the appearance of being unique or quirky is enough to make something qualify as indie even if it was made in a factory. This style overlaps heavily with hipster style and might even be said to be equivalent, particularly in terms of clothing. Indie style clothing is often vintage, altered in some way, or made by an artist. Truly indie designs are often made by the person who wears the clothing, as these represent a do-it-yourself philosophy.

Many different clothing items qualify as indie style clothing, as this clothing style tends to reflect a person's personality much more than other styles. A person might select a pair of vintage jeans that at one time might have been classified as preppy but have become indie due to the wearer's demeanor and the historical distance from the original trend. Given the variability of indie style, it is very difficult to point out specific items that belong to this style.

In many cases, indie clothing overlaps with hipster clothing. While both styles make use of vintage and used clothing, indie clothing is less likely to involve brand names or store bought clothes in any aspects. Indie style clothing often involves modifications to clothing, such as altered shirts. Handmade clothing is also often more popular in indie clothing than in hipster clothing.

Sometimes, indie clothing uses logos and shirts from indie bands and other designers. Wearing shirts from indie bands is popular, but modifying jackets with patches or silk screening logos on unusual clothing is also popular. Depending on the person, this can be done at home, or the clothing may be purchased from a crafter. Even when the finished product is aesthetically inferior to what could have been made by an artist or machine, many people who wear indie style clothing prefer items made at home because those items reflect the appropriate attitude for the style. Also, the wearer usually has pride in his or her crafts even when they are not perfect.

One of the defining features of the indie clothing style is the way in which purchasing clothing and jewelry takes place. Indie clothes are rarely bought in a store and are instead purchased at craft fairs or online directly from the designers. This model of buying and selling clothes is in some ways more representative of the movement than any individual pieces of clothing ever could be. Indie, meaning independent, is intended to cut out the middleman, so the clothing style is in some ways defined by these methods of production and purchase.

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