No Logo.

So Rick and I are sitting around today talking about advertising: How we hate it, how insidious it is, how manipulative advertising people are. It’s about getting people to talk about the product, not the product, per se. There was viral marketing before we even had a name for it, just like there were tapeworms before we’d ever seen them in anyone’s intestines.

Rick and I both favour what my old theatre teacher, David, used to call ‘alleigance-free clothing’, meaning we prefer not to wear labels. Rick says he prefers not to be a billboard. I tell people that as well, but the truth is, I didn’t grow up with labels and I am unsure of them.

I had mostly hand-me-downs as a child. My best friend was bigger than me, my mom had a friend whose daughter was a little older than me, and both moms were ace seamstresses. So I got their cast-offs.

My mom would decide I needed new clothes and haul out a garbage bag full, and I would have a torturous time trying them on. I stood on my parents’ bed and Mom would decide whether or not a thing fit. Appliquéd roosters? Earth-toned polyester? Traumatizing.
Anyway, no labels there. Just lots of homemade stuff. From women whose taste wasn’t mine.

In high school, I couldn’t afford the popular labels. That’s as well; I was never a popular kid. For a while, I thought if I wore a Benneton shirt I’d be cooler. But the wrapper was never going to make me cool. I wasn’t from those kids’ socio-economic class.

I shopped at thrift stores, because I could afford it. Somehow, I never got out of the habit. Even now, most of my jeans and t-shirts and sweaters come from Value Village, or the SPCA, or the Mennonites. Since I mostly wear jeans and t-shirts and sweaters, presto! There’s my wardrobe.

So today I look down at myself (t-shirt, jeans, sweater) and say, “Hey. I advertise Value Village!”

“Actually,” he says, “Don’t take this the wrong way. But you look like you’re advertising K-Mart or Wal-Mart.”

Which I basically never thought I would hear.

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