Spoonflower Hipster map

DURHAM, NC, Nov 23, 2015: Washington, D.C., has been named the first official “Hipster Capital of America” in a study based on the décor-buying habits of consumers across the country.

D.C. residents are more likely to buy hipster-themed décor than those in any other U.S. city, according to the website Spoonflower (www.spoonflower.com), which lets customers design, print and sell their own fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap.

vintage cameras on Spoonflower
This makes Washington the place to live for fans of wallpaper showing cats in hipster shades and drapes festooned with deer wearing hipster hats and large-framed spectacles.

Cities with far hipper reputations, such as Seattle, San Francisco, Austin and New York, all make Spoonflower’s list of 12 hipster hotspots but D.C. beats them all in the first national rankings of U.S. cities by their propensity to buy hipster-themed décor.

California, meanwhile, seems the top hipster state, with four cities in the top 12.

The rankings are based on data extracted from a larger study of nearly 200,000 purchases on Spoonflower, which the site has used to create the first ‘Décor map of America.’ This shows the best city to live for fans of 19 different design styles – from paisley to polka-dots, Victorian to mid-century modern, and zombie to hipster décor.

Spoonflower designates as the “capital” of each design style the city where a higher share of customers than anywhere else has purchased that style. 

Some of its study’s findings are unsurprising. So, Arlington, home of the national cemetery and major military cemeteries, turns out to be the U.S. capital of stripes, while New York, long-time home of checkered yellow taxi-cabs, is top for checkered designs.

“But who knew,” asks Stephen Fraser, co-founder of Spoonflower, “that the nation’s capital would also turn out to be its capital of hipster-themed décor?”

(Who knew, indeed, that there was such a thing as “hipster wallpaper,” let alone that a site like Spoonflower would sell over 300 unique designs of it?) PastedGraphic-9

Yet D.C. does so by some margin, while Brooklyn, historic center of the hipster universe, fails even to make the top 12. “Maybe hipsters in Brooklyn are just too hip to buy décor labeled as hipster,” speculates Fraser. 

So, what might explain Washington’s surprise victory in the hipster rankings?

Is it what’s been called the “hipster caucus” – comprising such hip Congress members as Connecticut’s Rosa DeLauro, the bow tie-wearing Earl Blumenauer of Portland, Phoenix’s Kyrsten Sinema, and ex-SNL comedian Al Franken?

Or is it a sign of the times? “Cities across the U.S. seem to be getting hipper every year,” says Fraser. “So, it’s fitting that Washington is showing leadership at least in this area.”

More likely it’s due to a bunch of hard-core hipster neighborhoods in D.C., led by the H Street Corridor, big with politico hipsters and lately named by Forbes as one of America’s top hipster hoods.

“Hipster” is not a traditional décor style in the same sense as, say, damask, paisley or toile, but it qualifies for Spoonflower’s study as a niche style scarcely available elsewhere. Spoonflower, indeed, is likely the world’s leading source of hipster-themed fabric and wallpaper designs.

“The title of ‘Hipster Capital of America” is as big as it gets in the world of hipster décor,” says Fraser. Washington alone can now claim it, on the grounds that its inhabitants are more likely to buy custom wallpaper and fabric with hipster motifs than are those in any other city in the U.S., if not the world. “Like I say – as big as it gets.”


[email protected]

For a city-by-city, style-by-style analysis see: Décor Map of America

METHODOLOGY: Spoonflower crunched the data from nearly 200,000 recent purchases by its customers of custom fabric, wallpaper and gift-wrap – and organized them under categories that each represented one of 19 different design/décor styles. Hipster-themed décor was one of these styles. In order to avoid the biggest cities topping the rankings for each style simply due to having more people, Spoonflower weighted the scores by calculating the number of customers for a particular style in any given city by the total number of Spoonflower customers in that city. That gave a better measure of the relative popularity for each style in any city and identified the city where each style was most popular.   

ABOUT SPOONFLOWER: Spoonflower is a website that allows anyone to upload their own designs to print on fabric, wallpaper or gift-wrap. Making things with Spoonflower is also the subject of a new title from Abrams Books titled “The Spoonflower Handbook: A DIY Guide to Designing Fabric, Wallpaper & Gift Wrap with 30+ Projects.”

DESIGN CREDIT: The example of hipster décor used to illustrate the associated infographic is “Grey hipster deer” by Taluna – one of over 300 hipster-themed designs on Spoonflower. The image used in the text body is “Vintage cameras – pale turquoise” by Andrea_lauren, a designer on Spoonflower.