As I’m sure everybody has noticed, there is a long-running trend for people to wear the waistband of their underwear above their jeans, displaying a brand label. Mention this exposure to them and they’ll tell you “it’s fashion.” It’s not, you’ve been duped: it’s advertising. Twenty years ago, I’d have to buy somebody a drink and slip them a mickey to get the sort of close-up and intimate views that are now thrust upon me unbidden. Buy a belt, please.
It’s part of an ongoing trend, though. Many years ago, men used to be paid to walk around the streets wearing sandwich boards plugging shops and products; today, people pay through the nose to wear exposed brand names: Super Dry, G-Star, Nike and their ilk. This seems incongruous – why would folk be so eager to show off their allegiance to a particular chain of sweatshops? Stranger yet, though, replica football shirts are emblazoned with the names of electronics giants, telecoms companies, airlines, beers, banks, confectioners and loan sharks, and people shell out small fortunes for the privilege of walking around wearing billboards that no-one but their fellow supporters would recognise as being affiliated with their club.
Then there’s a more recent and utterly inexplicable phenomenon: band t-shirts have some point because they at least say something about the taste of the individual wearing them, but of late I’ve seen people wearing Google, Facebook and Call of Duty tees – because, presumably, nothing says more about you as a person than your choice of search engine, your use of social media or your on-line gaming habit.
Of course, as we have become an ever-more materialistic society, people genuinely do feel an allegiance to brand names – Apple, Amazon and Starbucks all seem to have very loyal customers. In the past, hospital wings used to be named after wealthy notables who had contributed a great deal to society but, since these names pretty much avoid paying taxes or making any contributions – thus leading to hospital closures rather than openings – perhaps they’ll get their names posted above the graves of those children whose lives were curtailed thanks to the efforts of their accountants.
I don’t really have a point to make here, other than to express my exasperation with the world and my disappointment at the path that civilisation has taken, but I will add this: many small children enjoy dressing-up as their favourite superheroes: Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman and so forth. In their minds, they can pretend to be them and they can bask in the glory of their adventures. I know of fully-grown adult men who have complete replica football strips…