TEXT OF COMMENTARY
BOB MOON: We’re about to take a look at “A Bathing Ape.” It might not be what you’re thinking. A Bathing Ape is a brand of sweatshirt that’s the latest fashion craze for urban teens. Remember when everybody had to have Jordans and that led to some problems? Well, Youth Radio’s Ayesha Walker loves to shop, but she’s not so hot on this sweatshirt’s high price, and the fact that kids wearing these hoodies are being targeted for theft.
Ayesha Walker:: I know you’ve seen them. They come in loud colors, with cheesy looking objects like spaceships and diamonds floating all over them.
A little more than a year ago when I first saw A Bathing Ape sweatshirt, all I could do was laugh. The design seemed too juvenile for someone my age, so when I saw rapper Lil’ Wayne wearing the exact same hoodie, I was shocked. Then when I saw one of the pied pipers of hip hop, Pharrell Williams, wearing one, I actually started to like them. I wasn’t the only one with hearts in my eyes when considering the hoodies. I began to see them everywhere I went — at school, work, and on everyone from elementary school boys to college students.
And that conformity doesn’t come cheap. A Bathing Ape hoodie costs about $400. I’m sorry, but I can’t support a brand that makes it OK for young people to have to scrape together that much money to buy one article of clothing.
I’d only pay through the nose for a $400 hoodie, if it could make me fly. No, not fly like “cute,” fly like a bird. I live in an area where people are living paycheck to paycheck but are still willing to buy these overly expensive items just to keep up with artists like Pharrell and Wayne. Designers put a big fat price tag on their clothes because they know people are willing to pay hundreds to outshine others in the same social class.
Young people switch up their style to draw attention by wearing this trendy, off-the-wall clothing, but everyone’s different ends up looking the same.
So my advice to all you slaves to fashion: The next time you hear that Bathing Ape hoodie calling your name, ask yourself one question. Will it make me fly, like a bird?
Moon:: By the way, the Japanese designer of A Bathing Ape has said the name is a reference to the young generation being spoiled, pampered and too complacent.
Ayesha Walker’s commentary was produced by Youth Radio.
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