Over 1 million people have been killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria in the last two decades of war. So I find it slightly irritating seeing the top fashion designers co-opting war camouflage at great profit with no moral consequence. So, hopefully this piece will educate the few who’ll read it.
First, a quick story of my introduction to the wonderful and crazy city of New York, and the elite’s love-hate relationship with the military. “Thank you for your service,” to your face, and “Must be a Trump voter,” behind your back.
“We put the military veteran resumes to the bottom of the pile” an AD agency executive said to me a few years back.
“The co-op board is worried about you as a tenant in the building because of your military service,” said my New York real estate broker. “Are you fucking kidding me?” replied yours truly. It turns out that New York coop’s are one of the last bastions where discrimination runs rampant. The board was worried I was going to taint their lifestyle with my presence, I guess.
After meeting with the president I was oked and they accepted my application. However, this was only after I over-emphasized that my parents were hippies who raised me barefoot, sunburned and home schooled on a sailboat, and that my dad burned draft cards with his friends in the 60s. All true of course.
My mom’s wish for a bespectacled Harry Potter son that sat quietly in the corner reading books was crushed the very first time she called child services in Canada to assist her with her hell raising 3 year-old son who would guzzle bleach like a marathoner drinks water (stomach pumped on numerous occasions), play with fire for fun and whose side hustle was torturing his one year-old sister (love you Maryke). The authorities did come to the house but that’s another story for different day.
Back to educating the fashion world…
Is fashion really fueling the American war machine? Possibly a slight exaggeration on my part but it got your attention. The military has long influenced fashion designers around the world. And what’s not to like about uniforms, shiny gold buttons and cool emblems? I get it. But when I see camouflage adorning New York’s elite I can’t help seeing the irony of the situation. The Gucci hang bar warriors of New York, Paris and London celebrate the war machine without realizing that the very military patches adorning their stylish camouflage jackets are military unit patches that were created to celebrate and encourage killing the enemy during War with a capital W.
The madness continues…
We live in a crazy world where we drink water from single-use disposable plastic water bottles while simultaneously being outraged at plastic straws (a near useless device unless you’re in the car and don’t want to spill). We cut down live trees for Christmas then toss them out the next day. Then we shame companies that use plastic straws into replacing them with paper ones. Then stuff our paper straws into plastic cups when plastic itself is the real culprit.
Note: the source of most of the oxygen in our atmosphere comes from the oceans! Note x2: Thank you 16 year-old Greta for shaming us into action. You have cojones of steel. And Fuck me, it’s about time we wake up and realize we are closer to the song “Pets” by Porno for Pyros than we think!
So I’ve decided, for this brief moment, to declare War against the World’s Fashion Elite, and point out their silly obsession with camouflage, while they secretly admire that they somehow get a free moral hall pass when it comes to celebrating the war machine, “Coming to a Fashion Week near you soon!”
So how can you be against war and killing (have an industry bias against the military), but celebrate it on the runways during Fashion Week? Donatella, Anna, Katy? Please explain? I’m all ears…
Author’s note: I wear real camo often. I am also actually a secret fashion nerd, who one day wants his own line of rugged outdoor Americana jackets (I also played Dungeons and Dragons, even though my grandma thought I would go to Hell for it). I’m a fan of the women above who carved out incredibly hard careers in one of the most cut throat industries I know (outside of Hollywood). And I really enjoy the fact that we live in a crazy world with crazy people: because the crazy ones are the people who get shit done and draw outside the lines. And if we were all the same this disposable planet would be an extremely boring place. However, I do think we should talk about this kind of stuff, including the crazy mess American politicians have created in the Middle East, and about single use plastic.