Sunday, September 19, 2004

People United for Sane Fashion

Part social experiment, part personal jihad, People United for Sane Fashion is the shadow organization that I have created to combat my inability to deal with undergraduates confronting me with my advanced age.

Those that have not been on a college campus or high school grounds, malls often enough, or at dining places of cheap price and late hours might not know what this organization is about.

Essentially, youth fashion co-opts personal ironic statements- wearing your visor at an unnatural angle, fluffing out a miniskirt to make it flap open seductively in some extremely select cases, or, most egregiously, turning the collar of a polo or dress shirt up. These personal statements are rendered cool/in/desirable and are imitated by those unwilling to make personal statements on their own but willing to bank on the status conferred by possibly being the originator of said ironic statement. Turning up your collar and wearing Top Gun sunglasses is funny; it reminds us of a time gone by. The sin of this joke is in its being told too often. Suddenly, too many people are walking punchlines and the style becomes popular.

At this point, the statement has become a badge. The badge must be worn, in order to conform to guidelines issued by major publications and television. Suddenly, the lone person in New York who thought he or she would be the first one to pop their collar is awash in a sea of idiots who have their collars turned up much in the way a sweetly retarded neighborhood child might have directions to home and a phone number pinned to their shirt. It's a sign of helplessness to the larger society, but somehow comforting to the wearer.

I am too old to put up with this.

Thusly, the following simple fliers have been posted around my campus:

You look like an idiot with your collar turned up like that.

Your visor is upside-down and backwards. Something is horribly, horribly wrong.

Permission to wear aviator sunglasses, Tower. Permission denied, ghostrider.

It's not your fault. No one looks good in a pleated miniskirt.

Thou shalt not wear what Paris and Ashton wear, for they are abominations.

No one woke up this morning wanting to read something scrawled across your ass.

At the bottom of each flier is "People United for Sane Fashion" and an email address:

I thought that pointing out some simple truths might do something to change the situation, and it has. I also thought the email address would mean people who wanted to defend their choice in dress to me had a means to do so.

The end result has been this- after two weeks of posting fliers, a limited victory has been achieved. The fliers are torn down fairly regularly, but there has been a sharp decrease in the sightings of the aforementioned grievances-to-the-eyes. There have been no emails asking for a frank discussion of values, but instead there have been four or five heartfelt testaments to the cause (you rock, etc.). On posting the wall, which is pictured below, an effort was made to make the statement too big to tear down without someone noticing. Someone has written "End cookie-cutter fashion" on it, however.

As for PUS, since I am the cabal and there was no rush to swell the ranks, I don't think any more posters will be necessary. Until the next wave of faddish nonsense sweeps through. Then, the truth must return for all who have turned aside from its sustaining embrace.

My identity has been withheld to protect me from retribution.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because I'm feeling contentious:

Considering that virtually all mass-produced clothing sold in the U.S. is made in the same wretched conditions, in the same sweatshops, distributed by the same megaconglomerate corporations, is there really any ethical difference between the skirt-flouncing herds and the less-fashionable rest of us? Is there really a moral victory obtained in coordinating slightly different combinations of the same soulless, ethically tainted clothing? Conversely, is it better to impoverish oneself buying fairly produced products? Is self-abnegation in fact a morally superior state?

And finally, does this give you any fricking idea how bored I am at work?

- Sass

4:38 PM  
Blogger Veebz said...

I pledge allegiance to the string of the United Mesh of Mittens …

Up here, in the north, people are generally more modest. This is a requirement for survival. However, this does not stop masses of people from adorning the latest pair of aviators under their toques or wearing visors muchly askew. Mini skirts are popular in summer, but generally die off by the autumn months. This is not to say that you don’t find the occasional Twinkie wandering down Whyte Ave. at 2 am on a Saturday in December with stiletto heels and a pleated miniskirt on. Take solace in the thought that here Darwin’s theory of natural selection becomes practice. When it is minus 35 without wind-chill and one is stumbling home in 4 feet of snow … unless (s) he dresses appropriately … yes, you will die. This is a bulletin that I thought all Northerners received upon arrival, but apparently some people have taken it off the fridge or forgot to read it in the first place. So, please, send the cause North. Our survival as a society relies on it. God knows, there are no line ups waiting to repopulate the frigid parts of NORTH America. We need to save those we have!

~ Canadian Coalition for the Preservation of Toques and Mittens (CCPTM)

10:44 PM  

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