Friday, November 16, 2012

Truth-iness in Advertising

from Gawker
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Unionmade is an upscale men's clothing store, based in San Francisco and celebrated by GQ, that sells $258 "Vintage Styled Work Shirts" and $68 Cow Horn Combs and $565 "Vintage" Levi Jeans, and things of that nature. The company says that it "aims to improve the lives of our customers, community and suppliers by offering fairly priced products made from the best available materials." You might want to know, however, that Unionmade's products are notunion made.
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If you want to have an attractively curated store that sells insanely overpriced clothes designed to mimic the clothes that poor people wore a century ago, fine. But calling your store "Unionmade" (and modeling your logo on the AFL-CIO's) while not selling union made goods is just as asinine and insulting as calling your store "Americanmade" while selling things manufactured in China. It's blatantly misleading. It's fraudulent. It's the fashion equivalent of a TV preacher using Jesus love for the poor as a selling point to line his own pockets. On the other hand, subjugating the meaning of a real, serious political issue that affects millions of people's lives to the fact that you like the vibe of the sound of the name of it seems perfectly in character for a store that sells luxury-priced 1890s miners clothes to affluent people who will wear them while sitting inside their air-conditioned advertising agency office job.
We emailed Unionmade about this, and received the following response:
You are correct, though some of the brands we carry are union made, many are not. The unfortunate reality is that there are not many unions left in the garment industry and so the name was cultivated as a signifier of well-made and aesthetically timeless goods. There have been customers that take issue with the store's name and we certainly understand and respect their opinion, though by and large the majority of our customers understand the use of the name as an overarching narrative of the store. This being that we strive to carry well-made items that will age well in regard to both wear from use and stylistically.

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