Too often in America, when someone doesn’t like your politics, you’re called a Brown Shirt. It certainly happened over and over, for example, to Tea Party members. And Al Gore called conservative bloggers “digital brown shirts.”
Since the phrase originally referred to Nazi militia, it’s way over the top.
But if some people get called names for clothes they’re not even wearing, it turns out there’s now apparel for those who wish to voluntarily, and proudly, identify with a campaign that works through intimidation, the Antifa movement.
That’s because Alpha Industries has created an Antifa-influenced field jacket. As the company puts it “We have seen resistance to power and authority become a trend in our current pop culture and society, often expressed through fashion.”
The jacket has words and symbols written all over it supporting revolution and anarchy. It has slogans like “disobey” and “hate hate” (presumably the latter means they oppose hate, rather than they want a double helping).
It’s been selling on the Barney’s website for $375, so opposing capitalism isn’t cheap.
The Antifa movement, as the name implies, fancies itself anti-fascist. How do they express this idea? By trying to shut up people they disagree with, often through violent tactics.
The far-left organization has been involved in numerous ugly clashes, sometimes featuring bloodshed, so why anyone would want to openly advertise their support for such a group is unclear — Antifa members themselves are smart enough to cover their faces while in action.
Alas, the Antifa jacket is far from the only fashion statement being made in our highly politicized era. Since the 2016 election, a lot of people are desperate to let you know they’re on the anti-Trump bandwagon.
So it’s not uncommon, even on runways at fashion shows, for models and designers to wear buttons, or have words on their clothing, letting you know about their (completely safe, given the audience) political activism. For instance, New York Fashion Week, held earlier this year, was full of people literally wearing their politics on their sleeve.
Fashion should make an aesthetic statement, but when it gets explicitly political, it’s just tiresome. As has been noted, if someone doesn’t want to hear from you, why do you think they’d want to hear from your shirt?
Like Antifa protests themselves, the Antifa jacket has created a backlash. In fact, it’s been mocked pretty harshly by all those digital brown shirts online.
Indeed, Barney’s seems to have removed the jacket from their website. It would appear that most people thought the jacket stupid, and those who might have been tempted to purchase it are either too smart, too cool or too poor to pony up the money.
Maybe the manufacturer should start threatening people because they didn’t buy it — that’s how Antifa works, after all.
But unless that happens, it looks like the Antifa jacket will soon go the way of puffy shirts and fidget spinners.
And then, young, hip people can go back to wearing their regular clothes — Che Guevara shirts.