The New York Times’ Style section graced its readers on Thursday with a feature entitled “What to Wear to Smash the State” about the couture of the leftist protest group antifa.
The author of the article, Rick Paulas, profiled the “medley of black-clad anarchists, anti-fascists (known as “antifa activists”) and their fellow travelers,” ignoring their history of violence and instead turning them into trendsetters. “Steve the Communist” is now in the same league as fashion elites Coco Chanel, Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani.
Without a hint of irony, Paulas describes the group’s preference for brands like North Face when participating in demonstrations against capitalism or when they’re “hunting for fascists.”
“Everyone quickly figured out,” according to anarchist historian Daniel Dylan Young, that “having a massive group of people all dressed the same with their faces covered not only helps in defending against the police, but also makes it easier for saboteurs to take the offensive against storefronts, banks and any other material symbols and power centers of capitalism and the state.”
Translation: Destroying small businesses owned by regular folks is now simply an “offensive” against the “power centers of capitalism and the state.” But at least they look great when doing it!
To be clear, antifa’s all-black uniform isn’t just about practicality. As Elle Armageddon wrote in “The Femme’s Guide to Riot Fashion,” “shoes make or break an outfit.” Besides, what’s the point of overthrowing capitalism if you aren’t going to bother looking hip? Sheesh.
Paulas also offers his readers some “solid beauty advice” when engaging in armed confrontations against the police:
“A layer of glitter or highlighter dusted over your cheeks can serve double duty, showing off your glorious bone structure while simultaneously providing a helpful way to determine which side of your bandanna was in contact with your face and which side is saturated in tear gas particulate,” Armageddon wrote in October.
“Also, jean shorts are probably not ideal,” Paulas added.
Unlike a pair of stylish Gucci loafers or a clean Oxford shirt from Brooks Brothers, “the uniformity” of antifa’s clothing “camouflages those who participate in illegal acts like property damage, refusing police orders or physical assault against white supremacists or Nazis,” he wrote. “This willful protection of the group is embedded in the style’s aesthetic.”
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