Sunday, June 18, 2006 The World is Shrinking and the Spread of the Preppie Pirate

The World is Shrinking and the Spread of the Preppie Pirate



In 2005 I stumbled across a blogger based in Boston that posted about a new store, Ralph Lauren Rugby. Rugby stores are located exclusively near college campuses and are currently limited to eight stores. I perused the info on the Boston blog ambivalently, knowing that when in NYC I would never find the store and I wouldn't want to travel to the other cities where the stores are located. The writer of the Boston-based blog included some pictures of the store and merchandise, at which I glanced. Suddenly my eyes were drawn to a photo of the pants from my dreams: flat front khakis with tiny skull and crossbones embroidered on them in black. I had to own these pants! I called and store, had the pants sent to me, and yearned for more. "Clothing for preppie pirates!", I thought, "How novel!". After my initial rush of joy, I began to question what this might mean for what I considered to be my own uncommon aesthetics. When did the preppie pirate look go mainstream? More importantly, what is this development a reflection of?

We live in a world where the rise of user-generated content makes everything customized or customizable. Itunes enables the masses to discover semi-obscure indie rock bands whereas in earlier years these bands would only have been accessible by prowling clubs in Brooklyn or near Midwest universities. Coolhunter blogs expose us to products from around the world and e-commerce makes it possible to purchase these products from the pulsating comfort of our Kota Nezu Jellyfish Stool. Is the world becoming a "country without borders"*?

I'm torn between rejoicing that residents of first world countries now have the chance to purchase inspired goods (that would have only enjoyed miniscule sales in the years before meme spread by internet) and sadness that knowledge of these 'alternative' products is no longer a marker of the subculture (tribe) that I belonged to.

To use a cliche...The world is definitely becoming a smaller place and I'm claustrophobic.

*quote from "Pattern Recognition" by William Gibson

8 Comments:

Blogger Maigh said...

I've been racking my brain since yesterday afternoon about those pants and I suddenly realized that they seemed so...common...because these are another regurgitated item.

From the 80's. The time of neon dangly disk-plate earrings and hypercolors. Time of Bonez Brigade and long bangs. I can't find a decent link to corroborate my stance, but I feel better just the same.

Ahhhh. The days of being a skate betty...

8:54 AM  
Blogger Mad Ethel said...

What?! Are you shitting me? That's an oxymoron. Preps and skulls.

I guess it's just in time though. If you look at any of the magazines nowadays the whole goth nuveou or whatever is really kicking into high gear. Which is cool, but only certain people should wear it. It's not for the faint of heart or the computer nerdy.

Having said that I would like to mention that I have two skull shirts and am NOT good with the computer. I only know how to surf.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Anomie-Atlanta said...

To Maigh...I too will never forget the days of carrying my Vision Psycho Stick (http://www.skatesonhaight.com/Vision_skateboard_Psycho_decks_p/vdps.htm) under one arm and lustful thoughts (okay as lustful as an 11 year-old thought can be) of Christian Hosoi (http://www.effection.net/hosoi/).

Mad Ethel, girls who surf rule. I don't have the balance to stay on the board, you are far more deserving of the "wearing of the skull than I".

10:03 AM  
Blogger Maigh said...

Of course you liked the one Asian guy in BB. Duh.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Jeremy Barker said...

Perhaps they are best worn by corporate raiders on weekends.

2:28 AM  
Blogger Mad Ethel said...

Heheheh. Okay, maybe I am a nerd. I meant surf as in "surf the net." I've only ever boogie-boarded and I'm terrified of sharks.

But I rock climb. (I hope that redeems me.)

1:51 PM  
Blogger 2complx said...

The Preppie Pirate . Where are these people coming from? The ultimate phony. Maybe it is a secret order... OOOooo.

6:36 PM  
Blogger jromer said...

It's typical of designers to steal ideas from the 'street'
I love it when extremely wealthy men come into the restaurant where I work and they are wearing designer label fingerless gloves, a beanie and a 'torn' t-shirt. You can tell at a glance that the cotton on that t is about 400 smackers. All this after having walked past the homeless person on the street corner who is wearing the exact same out fit sans fingerless gloves because, well it's summer. And we all know the messenger bag was developed by one of the first major owners of bike messenger companies. He didn't patent it and was shocked to see one of the big designers 'come out' with it a year later. Maybe you should patent your look...

2:50 PM  

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