Since Trump found the door to the Oval Office (still his staffers are looking for the light switches), the contestation and resistance has taken different forms. American marchers have shown the world the A-game of how to write a protest sign. Twitter is churning out memes after memes.
But it’s hard to keep the conversation and the action on everyday. Most of us have jobs and families to attend to. But we should not forget this is a new world that needs fixing. Most of progressives have taken the responsibility of supporting more directly causes and organizations. I have personally stopped drinking as a daily reminder (yes I used to drink that often)that we need to “stay woke” on the dramatic issues at hand.
So what more can we do to keep the activism alive, without betraying the essence of it — just like the tone-deaf failure of the “safety pin” trend?
Last night, the Grammys was a good time for pop artists to express their own disagreements with the new world order. Among them, one detail caught my eye: Katy Perry’s armband which said “PERSIST”, referencing maybe Sen. Warren’s persistence in opposing Jeff Sessions nomination even after the Republicans tried to silence her.
The armband was an interesting choice of style, probably made necessary as the formal costume Perry was wearing did not really allow for a tee-shirt with a message, which common people would use to humoristic or political ends alike. No, the performer of “Teenage Dream” contrasted her dressed-up tuxedo jacket with a street-inspired armband.
As the climate is becoming more and more political, entertainment and fashion, traditionally considered trivial and superficial industries are challenged to produce more relevant outcomes. In my opinion, the armband could be the strong shift in street fashion that we’ve all been waiting for. Of course, it will also take a few A-list designers to make the headlines with “political runway shows” — but we have all witnessed the vacuity of Lagerfeld’s grand “socially inspired” shows for Chanel or Raf Simons’ limited empathy for the world’s issues.
In the meantime, one cult streetwear brand has made a signature of the armband: a striking red cotton band laced around a distressed denim jacket, almost redefining the workwear ethics and history behind denim brands such as Levi’s. The jacket has even made it into celebrity columns, when spotted on the back of who-else-than Kylie Jenner.
Ironically, another scene of social unrest is making the case for the armband as the most 2017 accessory of 2017. Near Paris, the city of Bobigny is currently “under siege”, as protesters have taken to the streets to voice their revolt against the police — officers of which force are being investigated for butt-raping an innocent citizen during a routine control. In this live recording of the events, we can see the suburban kids wearing classic sportswear (and quite a choice of iconic sneakers) facing off with police forces in riot gear and… “POLICE” armbands.
Since the physical confrontation of marchers and police forces is an echo to more symbolic and ideological combats, the armband is on the edge of becoming the signature accessory of our times.
So, what will be inscribed on yours?