A Ripping Yarn! FeaturedWritten by Charles Gardner
Fashion slaves tear up the rule book – and their clothes
By Charles Gardner, Special to ASSIST News Service
DONCASTER, UK (ANS - October 6, 2017) - Intrigued by the phenomenon of ripped jeans being the latest fashion statement, I had a little chat with friendly saleswomen at Britain’s quality clothes chain, Next, before enjoying a chocolate-y breakfast in their pleasant coffee shop.
Yes, ordinary jeans are still popular, they assured me, but you pay just as much (£30 – UK - I noticed) for the ripped version!
Now although I find all this quite amusing, I believe it’s also a new kind of madness further demonstrating the lengths to which we will go to re-invent our upside-down world.
Clever marketing has convinced most of us that it looks cool – increasingly so as autumn progresses – and although I hate to be a party-pooper, I detect something rather more sinister.
For one thing, it strikes me as an insult to the poor – paying good money for ragged clothes of the kind that, for many in the Third World, is all they can afford. And they would much rather not have the holes!
I grew up in South Africa, often seeing black kids running around with holey hand-me-downs, smiling through their poverty and grateful for having something on at all.
I don’t know about a fashion statement – it’s certainly a case of tearing up the rule book on design – but I do think it says something about the destructive nature of today’s Western culture, devoid of any rules and regulations. We would rather tear society apart than seek to build it up. We love to put celebrities on a pedestal, only to shoot them down at the first sign of fragility.
We have become so enslaved to fashion’s herding instinct that we will do just about anything to join the crowd – even tearing our clothes up.
Could there be something faintly religious about it, indicating perhaps that we are standing with the poor – a new kind of hole-i-ness – or is it just another excuse to show off more bare flesh?
I don’t suppose they’d attend a job interview dressed like that, I suggested to a friend, who wasn’t so sure. Some male bosses may well turn a not-so-blind eye!
Years ago I bought a beautiful pair of smart, pin-striped trousers from a leading label for a knockdown price – because it was a factory reject. The only fault was a tiny hole in one of the pockets, but it was invisible to anyone else, so I gladly wore those pants for many a smart occasion. I just had to remember not to put any money in my pocket!
Following my brief survey of the sales ladies, I went upstairs to enjoy my breakfast at the smart new coffee shop and headed for a cozy corner seat which – and I am not making this up – was ripped! Vandalized in fact…unless the fashion has extended to upholstery! I sat there anyway; it seemed totally appropriate – and perhaps someone was having a laugh on me. Whatever Next?
Jesus spoke much about clothes, saying: “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith?
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 5.25-33)
And in addressing the appropriateness for the occasion of what we eat, drink and wear, he even speaks directly into the issue of torn clothes: “No-one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse.” (Matthew 9.16)
As early as page three of the Bible’s 1,000-plus pages, God declares his interest in covering our modesty, for it reads: “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” (Genesis 3.21)
In the unlikely event of this new fashion being about identifying with the poor, there is a better way of doing that. You can support a wonderful annual project called Operation Christmas Child, which involves packing a shoebox full of toys for children in various poverty-stricken parts of the world. Run by the Samaritan’s Purse charity, they also suggest items such as pens, crayons, soap, hats and gloves. Just don’t send them any ripped jeans. For more details in the UK, visit www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/occ.or in the US, go to https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/order-materials/
Photo captions: 1) Girl with ripped jeans. 2) Charles Gardner with his wife, Linda.
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