Mind over Manners

Gap pulling out its 'Manifest Destiny' T-shirts only proves that outrage is all the rage.

Doesn't fashion love a scandal, and the newest hit in the retail world seems to be taken by Gap. Yes, the same ubiquitous, non-political and inexpensive wardrobe staple that makes every other purchase of ours totally worth it.

A few weeks ago, Gap introduced a basic black T-shirt that read "Manifest Destiny" across the front. The American clothing giant has stirred a controversy among Native Americans, who are reminded of the bloody oppression their communities faced since Columbus arrived on their land. Manifest Destiny is the brutal view from two centuries ago that believes that America was "destined" to expand across the North American continent. Thousands of Native Indian tribes were displaced or wiped out, and their land and livelihood consumed.

A petition was filed, and Gap and the T-shirt's designer Mark McNairy were made to apologise. Of course, the T-shirt is not available in their stores or online anywhere.

Earlier this year, Nike released a Black and Tan shoe. Its name refers to a British parliamentary unit known for its brutalities against Irish revolutionaries in the 1920s.

Last year, Christian Dior, one of the biggest luxury houses in the world, sacked its supremely talented and highly overworked chief designer John Galliano for making anti-Semitic comments at a bar brawl. Galliano was drunk and alone, and that paints the picture of the sad and lonely man in a nondescript pub in the very public Marais, on whose shoulders alone rested the entire couture industry of France. Almost every senior journalist and newspaper was shocked and shaken, and wrote disapprovingly. (The magazines were mum; Dior is among the top three advertisers.)

And Natalie Portman, the sweet-faced Jewish Ms Portman declined wearing his dress at the Oscar ceremony that year even though she is the face of Dior. That her new ad has been pulled out for excessive airbrushing her eyelashes is another 'ism' to fight over altogether.

... contd.

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