For the love of Ganesh… ImageOfTheWeek.

For the love of Ganesh... ImageOfTheWeek.

One of Topman’s latest from the Summer 2013 range, is this basic Men’s tee displaying Ganesh, the Hindu deity of Knowledge. However, how many people who buy this tee will know this? How many will understand the background to this image?

Throughout the 21st Century, religious symbols/images have been commercialised and mass produced. The Christian Cross is a prime example of this. You’re not a rock star if you aren’t seen sporting a Cross Pendant… even Bollywood actors have started accessorising, regardless of their religion. This will always be controversial and will always have people on both sides saying it is either blasphemy or just freedom of expression. However, the point I wish to make, free from a religious point of view on my part, is that of Corporate Responsibility.

One defense of this view, would be that of cultural appropriation – adoption of a culture by another culture. However, here, we would be getting into a messy web of differences between culture and religion. Should Ganesh’s image be printed on an item of Indian clothing, then yes, you could say it is cultural appropriation. However, this tee is a modern item of clothing.

So why do I think this is a case of Corporate Responsibility? Because this level of controversy acts against a “regulation of social good” that businesses should ethically adhere to.  I put it in the same basket as Primark selling kid’s padded bikinis. Nothing can really stop it, but it’s just not right.

To me, this tee shirt is a symbol of a religion. Wearing it requires the respect of the traditions and values held by that religion. Mass-producing this image onto a mainstream item of clothing, to me, effectively diminishes the meaning behind it. Although the UK is multi-cultural, it is not yet socially aware enough to be ready for this type of commercialisation. It won’t be long until you see young people wearing it while obliviously eating a beefy Big Mac. This wouldn’t be out of direct disrespect, but out of a lack of knowledge and appreciation. It is about as socially aware as a person, wearing a peace sign t-shirt, casually car-jacking

On a practical note, I don’t think that the tee will do that well and feel that it is a terrible addition to the summer line. After showing the image to many of my friends, the general response has been, “..but who would wear that, though?”. Stick to the retro look, Topman.

Over and Out.

Puntastic. – ImageOfTheWeek

Puntastic.

Imagine a sunny Friday mid-morning and a girl sitting on the top deck of the 142 Magic Bus, chuffed with the retail therapy she had just treated herself to and listening to Paolo’s “New Shoes” on the way to the library. She looks out the window… spots a big billboard with 7 men, all of extreme shapes and sizes, dressed in items from HIGH and MIGHTY. She looks down, looks back up at the next billboard… and BOOM.

By now you probably realise that this impulsive girl was me – this morning – in central Manchester. This picture was the second billboard – twice the size of the first and twice as eye-catching. Needless to say, I have ridiculous amounts of respect for each and every man here. They remind me of the women in the Dove campaign a couple of years ago – all in their underwear, showing what a real woman looks like. The campaign itself (have a read by clicking the link) is so important too, as specialist clothing stores sometimes hold a stigma which I believe makes absolutely no sense in today’s world.

I absolutely love this ad, and no, not just because of the guy on the far right (although he does help the cause!).

Over and Out!