If you’re anything like me, going to the store to buy clothes is just short of being a chore. Sure, I may find a shirt or jacket that catches my eye, but for the most part fashion is a topic that I tend to avoid.
For other people, however, fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry. Every day, people are spending money on clothes. Designers use their crafty marketing appeal to attract the masses, or they focus on unique clothing designs that win the hearts of the niche crowd. With designers and clothing brands using whatever is available to them in order to boost sales, it’s only expected that a few products come out questionable. But when these designs use symbols or phrases that are flat-out insulting, it opens a new discussion: Where is the line drawn between offensive and trendy?
The biggest example of this would have to be none other than Boy London. Created in 1976, Boy has been known for its flagrant use of “edgy” images throughout the years. This can be seen in even its most recent logos, where the company uses an exact replica of the Nazi Symbol of Sovereignty pin (minus the swastika of course) smack-in-the-middle of its t-shirts and other products. This may not seem like a particularly big issue for some, but with the Boy clothing brand trending all over the world–and especially among oblivious youth–what makes its use acceptable? Being ‘edgy?’ Hardly not.
The second example of a company crossing the line in terms of fashion is the “Manifest Destiny” T-shirt that was briefly released to the public by Gap before being withdrawn due to consumer outrage. For those who may not know, “Manifest Destiny” was a term used by American settlers in the 19th century to justify their expansion across the country. Essentially, the term meant that American settles had a God-given right to colonize the vast, western lands of North America without a moment’s thought of its original inhabitants, who were considered inferior.
Not the best phrase to put on a T-shirt, and if that weren’t enough, designer of the shirt Mark McNairy caused even more outrage by tweeting, “MANIFEST DESTINY. SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.” He has since apologized for his comments, but the memory is not one to quickly leave people’s minds.
In closing, these are just two recent examples out of the many that plague society. The reason why these companies allow such products to hit the shelves is because they believe that they will sell. It is up to consumers to take initiative and be more informed about the products that they wear. It is also important to inform the youth about said products so that we, as people, can move forward in understanding historical tragedies while also giving them the proper respect.