Fear and clothing: ’Tis the season of peak outrage


Fear and clothing: ’Tis the season of peak outrage

A weekly column on the vagaries and charms of fashion


We are living through the season of peak outrage. Peak outrage is basically just like peak outage. That’s when all the electricity goes pop and  everyone feels homicidally angry, deeply exasperated and utterly hopeless in equal parts.
Here is a short list of outrages I have registered in the past seven days. Where, you ask, is this outrage being registered? Why, everywhere – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram,  WhatsApp  – everywhere, I tell you, everywhere.
The man likes Donald Trump. Like a bad episode of Game of Thrones their mutual dragon energy has set off a global conflagration of mad hate, mayhem and murder. It’s as if somebody accidentally set fire to Kanye’s brain farts and all that unmediated flatulence exploded in his famous face. And then he had to go and mention slavery – I can’t even begin to write about this, such is the level of despair that prevails globally right now.
PETA is very, very exercised about mohair. There you were feeling good about your lovely homegrown jersey made from wool from the Eastern Cape, and then PETA films the   farm workers inexplicably tossing the goats around during shearing time. Not good. Really bad and awful and troubling. And now even Inditex, Zara’s parent company, has said it is dropping mohair. Because it is outraged.Zara copying LadumaBut what to do when your new outrage overlaps with your earlier outrage? How to reconcile that our own mohair industry, which accounts for 50% of the global supply chain and provides much needed employment in the Eastern Cape, also coincides with the rise and rise of brilliant young knitwear designer Laduma – whose brand Maxhosa Zara (that international bastion of copycat fast fashion) has recently copied and replicated en masse.
I don’t know about you but I am now outrageously confused. Who do I hate more? Goat-tossing farmers or Zara? If we lose the mohair industry will we lose Laduma? Or should we just lose Zara?  Now that they ripped off our knitwear it is easy for them to take the moral high ground. An outrage conundrum fit for our outraged times.
Better to feel outraged about avocados. Really, this is a thing. Apparently avocados are now a just cause for outrage. Avocados used to be vegetables – now they are stand-ins for everything everyone has ever hated about faddish food movements driven by  Instagram food porn and rapidly ageing hipsters in Brooklyn. Avo toast is cause for multiple embolisms brought on by apoplectic outrage – the avolato, even more so. Avocado and gelato in one happy scoop. Not so fast! First the outrage.Oh I could carry on but why? I’m exhausted. Outrage fuels outrage and ultimately negates it – a bit like being outraged about Facebook while continuing to use it. Peak outrage is the damp squib of our times.

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