Rabble Rouser Review: Mistaken Identity


Rabble Rouser as a regular column is still on hold, but here and there when something interesting pops up I’ll still post on it.

This past week a news article came across my screen about t-shirts with potential gang logos sold at local malls. Possibly known or unknown from the designers at Urban Outfitters (although they get in trouble about annually or so with people protesting their design choices, so it’s hard to tell whether it’s motivation is ignorance or boundary pushing).

This is a different take on studying fashion and crime, as generally I’ve been looking at people who possibly engage or are perceived to engage in crime and what they wear. But, a flip is to look at people who are routine citizens and have no affiliation with crime or even perceptions of such, yet wear items that are from “criminal culture” if I can dub it that.

So the thought is do people, such as mall shopping teens, grab these items for regular wear not even knowing their origins? Or, does wearing them promote a certain cache they want to have that isn’t being garnered in other aspects of their lives? We’ve seen tons of these examples over the years such as all of the urban styles that supposedly emerge from the limits and creativity that comes out of prison attire (sagging pants, etc).

There seems to be an intriguing intersection of people (especially those in the teen-20s range?) wanting to not be perceived as deviant or more so actual criminals for their attire and those who attempt to grab some of the identity, whether myth or reality, from the attire and precense of known criminals. I wonder how much of that intersection lies in a study of the demographics of the wearers? Or how the clothes are consumed (i.e. from where, how much is spent, etc). Might be some good research papers in there….

Your thoughts are always encouraged…


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