Occupation Is All The Rage At The Zuccotti Park Carnival
THE fashion world has fully embraced the Occupy movement. Walking through Zuccotti Park in Manhattan’s financial district – where it all kicked off nearly two months ago – it is not hard to see why. Here, anti-corporate activists engage in yoga workshops, drum circles, live blogging, composting and other activities du jour. Many protesters dress up in suits. This is ironic. And in New York, irony is hip.
There’s a carnival-like atmosphere in Zuccotti Park, a sense of community has developed, a sense that occupation is so “right-on”. It’s a hipster hangout – with some anarchic youth, homeless dudes, and ageing hippies thrown in.
Scattered around the park are placards declaring war on everything from banking to fracking. But all the sloganeering rarely translates into anything substantial, and when the protesters are asked to clarify what their demands are, they respond in the most vague and disparate ways. But that, apparently, is the beauty of this protest movement in which there are no leaders and no overarching agenda.
The shallowness of the protests could explain why the fashionistas are so into it.
For instance, a few weeks back, the New York Times ran this photo report titled “What to wear to a protest”. One interviewee, dressed in black-and-white-striped leggings, said “Pretty much everything I’m wearing is supposed to be awe-inspiring and hallucinogenic. And it also feels really good to wear tights.”
Rapper, music producer and fashion designer Kanye West has visited the Occupy Wall Street camp and over in Britain, fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood recently took a tour of the tent city near the London stock exchange, as reportedby the fashion section of the Telegraph as well as by British Vogue. Dame Vivienne brought along her sons, the photographer Ben Westwood and Joseph Corré, the founder of lingerie brand Agent Provocateur.
When I visited the Occupy Wall Street encampment last week, a photo shoot was in full course. This model was striking poses at the edge of Zuccotti Park, not far from where protesters were offering to spray-paint slogans onto passersbys’ t-shirts.
It remains to be seen whether the OWS-trend will last beyond the winter season.