This is a very quick, hit-and-run random cross-section of clothes for sale on one floor of a major high street fashion retailer. Notice the theme? This was a kids’ department, so even in the 0-24 months section, we are already feeding our kids with a 100%—yes, 100%—visual diet of Team USA. Why?
Repeat until it’s invisible
What I realised as I shopped for my toddler was that I don’t even notice the endless USA USA USA anymore. I imagine most people don’t. For some reason I just picked up on the fact that every piece of clothing that had a word on it, had a word denoting the USA. Every single one.
This is not an anti-US rant
I love America. Sorry to get all Donald Trump on you, but I’ve been there, and it’s great. Even before I went there, I knew it was great. It has been—without question—the greatest cultural influence on my life barring—possibly—my native country of Britain.
But why—in an age that’s apparently all about limitless choice, individual expression, finding your unique style—is the only graphic choice on the clothes we are sold that of the USA. You can have anything you want—LA, NYC, Chicago, Phoenix, Arizona, California, Hawaii—but only, only if it falls within the borders of the United States of America.
How crazy is that?
Where is the Vancouver, British Columbia T-shirt? Why can’t I wear München, Bavaria underpants? Why can’t my son buy a baseball cap (yes, I know, a baseball cap) with Provence written on it? Yeah, I know, I’m sure he could if he scoured the internet. They’re all Western countries, right?
But what about my Dar-es-Salaam T-shirt? What about his Ceará, Brasil undies? Is a Bamako, Mali baseball cap just beyond the pale?
If you work in fashion retail, pitch this at your next brainstorm meeting. Go on, I dare you!