Sometimes I’m that annoying girl who wears things “ironically.”

I know, I know, hipsterdom is so mainstream now, and by saying that I just sound like a, ehem, effing hipster, but fashion is more than fitting into specific genres, trends or movements; fashion is an intersection of art, culture, history, personal expression and if you want, politics.

So sometimes I wear a black and white sweater that reads “Bourgeois” across the front.

I want to make something very, very clear, particularly for those who have seen me on campus and seriously wondered why the hell I wear it (because I am sure the majority of the student population think about this): I don’t support the upper middle-class and I heavily criticize the American capitalist economy as well as profit-maximizing business models.

Let me rephrase – I don’t believe in the exploitation of the majority for the benefit of a few, nor am I a supporter of the bourgeoisie. Instead, I would consider myself on the complete opposite side of the political spectrum. That is, to put it simply, as left as you can get.

I don’t enjoy labels, particularly ones that pigeonhole myself into a specific political party, so let’s just say I align with many anarcha-communist ideologies. Whatever that means.

The point is, I wear the sweater because I represent the exact opposite. That doesn’t make a lot of sense and relies on the assumption that many people actually know me, but that’s just it, those of you who do know me well understand the point I am trying to get across, and some of those who don’t have sparked conversations with me about it.

That’s right, an article of clothing has resulted in heated political debate. Don’t get me wrong – I understand the hypocrisy inherent in me simply wearing my sweater: I went to a store, presumably with a car that I was able to put gas in, purchased the commodity and now have the privilege of wearing at an elite university where many people at least know what the word is.

But at least I’ve used the privilege I have to represent something I strongly believe in. As Walt Whitman said: “If I contradict myself, then I contradict myself. I am
great. I contain multitudes.” He also said something like “It’s pretty sweet when people turn fashion into politics.” I’m kidding. That was Ralph Waldo Emerson. I’m kidding again.

Fashion can be politics and politics can be fashion, it just depends on how you go about framing it.

– By Priyanka Krishnamurthy