I'm not sure what pursuit is more fraught: trying to "heal" the United States and the divisions inflamed by Donald Trump or attempting to make Joe Biden cool by cramming him down the throats of streetwear fans.
It takes a staggering amount of naivety to believe either can be successful — which makes their wearable intersection all the more hilarious.
Joe Perez, the former Donda designer who helped create The Life of Pablo merch, has teamed up again with the president-elect as one of five fashion designers trying to make inauguration apparel more stylish.
Previously, Perez's tie-dye shirts for the Biden campaign showcased a cognitive dissonance with the tepid progressivism of his legislative history and proposed policies. Now, the designer continues to pull from the über-trendy Deadhead aesthetic, sans tie-dye, while championing the impossible: "healing" a nation containing a large population of people who've been poisoned by propaganda and outright lies.
Yes my friends, the people who still believe the election was stolen are going to join hands with Democrats to sing "Kumbaya" while wearing Biden hoodies. We are one nation, united by nonpartisan jawnz. We will set aside our difference to "reclaim our sense of purpose," which includes the universal right to get a fit off.
I prayyyyyy to see a young person wearing this hoodie out in the wild. Biden isn't even in office yet, and he's already disappointing a large swath of voters who settled for him by clarifying that the proposed $2,000 stimulus checks that helped win back control of the Senate will actually only be $1,400 — aided by the math of the previous aid to reach its grand, still-not-enough total.
I'd relish the opportunity to ask how someone below the age of 50 could be so excited about the pending Biden administration that they shelled out $105 on a hoodie appropriating the visual language of a much more ambitious cohort. Grateful Dead bootlegs are more apt for an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez supporter; Joe Biden's sartorial signifier should be an ill-fitting, light blue button-down.
During the Democratic primary, an assortment of brands were independently inspired to create unofficial Bernie Sanders merch. The unsanctioned T-shirts raised money for Sanders' campaign, and the self-motivated enthusiasm stands in stark contrast to Biden's campaign paying Perez to make merch for him.
According to FEC disclosures, Perez's Rhode Island-based studio received two $4,000 payments in August and September for "fundraising consulting." Disclosures this time around are not yet available, so we'll have to wait to see if Perez got another modest payday.
$8,000 seems cheap for a designer who's worked with Kanye West, Louis Vuitton, and Nike — but perhaps he gave Biden a discount for, if not genuine enthusiasm, the purpose of getting Trump out of office through streetwear. Now, let's see if the culture is up to the task of "healing" the nation.