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History & Hoodies – When Pop Fashion Goes Wrong

We’ve seen a lot of questionable fashion in pop culture, from things that should never be sexy to appropriation to racist accessories. You have to wonder what is going through some designers minds when they decide to make these things, let alone put them online or on shelves.

The latest comes from Gearhuman, known for a variety of clothing, shoes, and decor based on everything from fandoms to faith.

This month they posted their ‘HD Ancient Collection,’ a series of hoodies based on the uniforms or attire of historical world leaders. An interesting concept, this could have been a unique way to show your support (and knowledge) of significant figures of yore.

The problem is not with the theme but in the specific outfits, as once more we wonder what the hell was going through the design (and marketing) teams’ heads.

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Among such famous people as George Washington (and other Founding Figures), Napoleon Bonaparte, and Teddy Roosevelt, you’ll also find some people of controversial standing, at best.

I’m not here to debate the positives and negatives of specific historical figures, and whether their outdated views (or actions) soil the good that they’ve done. I take them as they are, and let each person decide what’s too much, from Thomas Jefferson’s slaves to Thomas Edison’s thievery.

Some of these figures are heroes to some and villains to others, depending on your country of origin. Ivan the Terrible earned that nickname yet is praised in Russian history; Pancho Villa is one of the most famous faces of the Mexican Revolution despite his beginnings as an outlaw.

At some point, however, we need to accept that certain people (or at least their uniforms) have no place being represented on our bodies and streets.

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A Nazi is a Nazi, even without a swastika

We’ve already written twice about why you shouldn’t cosplay as a Nazi, and the same is true for facsimiles of their uniforms. I don’t care how genius Erwin Rommel was, a hoodie donned with Nazi regalia is a bad idea, even without the swastika.

While not a Nazi, Benito Mussolini is the founding father of fascism and an antisemite. Why anyone would want to wear the clothing of a notorious dictator is beyond me, and it makes me wonder why they didn’t have Hitler.

Also bad enough is having Confederate uniforms, which belong in reenactments and museums, not as outfits. Far too many try to play the heritage, not hate card, but when you’re sporting the uniform of Nathan Bedford Forrest, you’re full of shit.

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We’re waiting on his Grand Wizard hoodie later

The Soviet Union was our enemy for decades, and the Iron Curtain is a fresh memory, no less in ex-Communist nations still trying to recover. From Joseph Stalin and his atrocities to Leonid Brezhnev and his doctrine, these are not people you want to emulate.

Want to tick off your Native and Indigenous friends? Dress up as genocidal President Andrew Jackson or the colonialist explorer James Cook.

The questionable figures continue, like George IIIHenry Clinton, and Aaron Burr. A quick look at the list

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Nothing says “cozy” like the suffering of tens of thousands of Native Americans

The point is, whoever decided to include notorious dictators, racists, and Nazis alongside the America’s Founding Figures and other countries’ heroes has some explaining to do.

Are they that stupid that they didn’t even think about the history of these people? Were they purposefully trying to be edgy in a world that’s already on edge? Or was it somewhere in-between?

Either way, it’s bad enough we’re giving publicity to this company and its offensive collection. Spread the word about their idiocy and let them know your distaste with reviews and spending your money elsewhere.

UPDATE (10/1/19): Since the writing of this article, they’ve now added Hermann Göring, convicted war criminal and one of Nazi Germany’s highest figures, to the list. That product is in addition to Christopher Columbus, one of the most vilified figures in Native American history, and Kaiser Wilhem II, whose reign during WWI cost the death of millions.

These moves suggests Gearhuman is not doing this out of ignorance but as an actual marketing scheme.

All told, their hoodies now contain four of the 25 deadliest dictators in history, two Nazi leaders, two Confederate leaders (including the founder of the KKK), three individuals condemned by Native Americans and Pacific Islanders, and a variety of others with controversial histories.

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About Brook H. (215 Articles)
Generalist, polymath, jack-of-all-trades... Brook has degrees in Human Behavior and Psychology and has majored in everything from computers to business. He's worked a variety of jobs, including theater, security, emergency communications, and human services. He currently resides outside Baltimore where he tries to balance children, local politics, hobbies, and work. Brook is HoH and a major Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing advocate, a lifelong gamer (from table-top to computer), loves everything paranormal, and is a Horror-movie buff.

1 Comment on History & Hoodies – When Pop Fashion Goes Wrong

  1. “Are they that stupid that they didn’t even think about the history of these people?” Not ‘stupid’ but clearly ignorant, just as those who buy the outfits are probably attracted to the nifty colors and designs without giving any thought to context. Let’s not assume they’re just sick or stupid. We certainly would bristle at the idea that we’re too sensitive or stupid in our opinions on this subject.

    Two of my basic personal philosophies are ‘take no offense where none is intended’ and ‘choose your battles’. For me, this issue falls firmly within those two concepts, although I do understand your point and can see the potential of drawing attention to these things. For the sake of enlightening the ignorant, however, I’d encourage folks to use care in how they word their objections. Rather than angrily accusing the makers (or wearers) of these clothes of being ‘stupid’, try offering some historical insights that explain why you’d see some of these items as inappropriate.

    Seems to me we’d want to open a dialogue with rather than just shut down those with whom we disagree.

    Like

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