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HURRAY HURRAY: laugh in the face of capitalistic blandness

Dunno if you’ve been watching The Deuce, HBO’s criminally underrated drama. The concluding episode was on last week and without wishing to spoil, the final scenes offered a powerful juxtaposition between life back in 1970s/80s New York and today. Once Times Square was a mix of grit, ambition and authentic human experience, now it’s a mall of standardised digital signage and corporate fast food. Chunky tourists in shorts and baseball caps. A Gap on every corner. The very soul of the place diluted with every sip of multinational latte.

Of course, modern menswear is hardly immune to the homogenisation of culture. And not only at the hands of the makers and retailers. Witness the rise of the wannabe digital entrepreneur and their Cali-inspired uniform of chinos and pale blue button downs. And not forgetting the business-hoodie – this being a perfectly normal cotton hoodie, rendered appalling by the addition of a cheaply printed tech logo. Of course, it’s the easy way out for guys with heads full of binary. Just dress the same, you know, like Einstein. If you don’t care about what you wear it leaves more brain-space to think about KPIs and ABM and CTR and other such acronyms. Each to their own, I guess.

Is this sweater from cult Japanese brand HURRAY HURRAY challenging these issues head on? Probably not intentionally. But it is interesting that what we have here is a vintage knit and a vintage sweatshirt, chopped up and re-sewn into one Frankenstein-garment. And look at that patch on the front. WTAF? It’s a bunch of medicine brand logos. Sortis is for cardiovascular disease and Norvasc is for high blood pressure. Lovely, lovely medicine brands. It’s amazing no one has thought of this before. I mean we all know the cuddly and caring attitude of the Big Pharma companies. Who wouldn’t want to walk around advertising them and their well-priced products.

I wonder if HURRAY HURRAY are going for the satirical vote here? Or did they just think the patch looks so dated and bland it’s actually become interesting – the same way current trend followers frequently imbue design-worth on the most banal 90s products. Who knows? Not me. I just see a weird sweater. One you can’t buy in Gap.

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