Let’s be clear: I’m not enough of a kook to say that just because denim was invented for cowboys you shouldn't be allowed to wear jeans if you’re not wrasslin’ cattle. And undoubtedly many clothes were made better back then simply because, for many men, they were seen as a utilitarian investment rather than adornment. Improved quality in today’s goods is a much needed development.

But I believe it’s dangerous and ignorant to selectively romanticize the aesthetic of a certain period without considering the larger context that the clothes fit into. Just because we’re unsure in current times doesn’t mean we can whitewash another era so that its consumption goes down smooth. And to borrow from an era that was so recent, we’re only serving to freeze that moment in time and ignore the fact that the problems of our past are still problems today.

This includes today's fashion industry itself. How much longer will the industry and consumer only focus on superficial imagery and turn a blind eye to unfair labor practices, environmental destruction, and vicious industry standards? Do you really think your shoes were Made in the USA? And that we no longer have sweatshops operating in America? Again, by evading these very real problems, we're plucking clothes out of a fucked up current context and consuming them bereft of responsibility—a practice that's vindicated by these Americana brands.

So that’s my stance. I’m not really sure if there’s any sort of solution except to be aware of when you’re appropriating from other times and places, and what, exactly, you’re choosing to inherit. If you disagree then I’m happy to get the conversation started. Or you can just pine for the good ol’ days when men were men and, since interracial marriage was illegal in some states until 1967, my parents probably wouldn’t have had me.


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