Fashion Bytes

Image via AP

The world was utterly shocked on Friday to learn of the terrible attack endured by the people of Oslo on Friday, 22 July. There are no words for the horror and tragedy of someone walking into a summer camp full of children and opening fire. What is even more reprehensible is that he posed as a police officer, luring the teenagers into a “safety discussion” about the attacks he had just committed in the city’s government district.

It is a rather tired cultural cliché that clothes don’t matter.  But I cannot imagine that Anders Behring Breivik wore a police officer’s uniform by accident.  The police may not have a completely pristine reputation — Rodney King, or the brutal tactics used against the recent British student demonstrations come to mind — but in general, the police, and the uniform they wear is a gateway to trust.  And it enabled a radical gunman to slaughter more victims than if he had worn street clothes.  No one would have listened to him or believed he had any special knowledge or authority.

So, clothes matter.  And in this case, very much.

I am by no means turning Norway’s national trauma and tragedy into a debate about the validity of clothing or the study of it. I just could not help but wonder whether Breivik could have done nearly as much damage had he not intentionally chosen a garment that would encourage people to trust him.  And I feel his corruption and betrayal of the trust and respect the uniform has earned only compounds the tragedy.

My heart goes out to my friends and all those I do not know in Oslo.

Please share your thoughts, or any links that might allow Worn Through readers to send assistance to Norway.

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