What to Wear to a… Protest?

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What to Wear to a... Protest?

photo: flickr member david shankbone

So, Steve Heller pointed out yesterday that the New York Times, for some reason, felt it necessary to commission logos for an occupation the rest of the media landscape had barely acknowledged prior to two weeks ago. That, in and of itself, was weird enough—and it was weirder that the logos they were given were so completely off the mark and missing the tenor of the protestors, um, brand.

Beyond that, they also posted a little photo spread called, “What to Wear to a Protest,” a fashion display that (I think) sneakily exposed the utter banality and pretense involved in such a thing. They simply asked particularly well-dressed protestors what they were wearing, and why they were there. Most, predictably were wearing old clothes from wherever, but a few selections were pointedly ridiculous. One woman, wearing Aldo, Forever 21 and American Apparel (and who named all of those brands), when asked why she was protesting said:

“I like the use of public space as a performative realm and I like the combination of bodies in space. I think it makes a statement.”

What exactly is that supposed to even mean?

These features from the Times left me confused as to their purposes. Were they making fun of the people who showed up at the occupation with no real attachment to it? Were they embracing their inclusion? Were they making a campy stab at the kind of silly reporting other media outlets might do? I’m not sure. Either way, the sheer weirdness of the visual reporting was… kind of genius.