Friday, July 20, 2007

Selling Radical Chic to Teens

Radical Chic was a term coined by author Tom Wolfe to describe the soiree in which the late Leonard Bernstein hosted members of the Black Panther militant group. More recently, several retailers that market to teenage girls have been selling scarves resembling keffiyehs. The keffiyeh has been traditionally worn by men in the Middle East, and was particularly associated with the late Yassir Arafat, who wore the keffiyeh to cover his bald pate.

There has been an uproar over selling keffiyehs, as many people associate the keffiyeh with terrorism.

Below is an example from Urban Outfitters:

An ironic name for this scarf
This type of "radical chic" is reflected in T-shirts carrying the image of Che Guevara; even the perfumeur Le Labo has used Che's image to portray its fragrance line as "revolutionary." (hat tip: Beauty Addict)


Anonymous said...

How is a traditional scarf worn in the Middle East "radical chic"? Is anything of the culture of Arabs considered "radical"? How is it ironic that this is a "peace" scarf? Do you consider it a war scarf? Pretty racist connotations in your posting, I would say.

Anonymous said...

Given that it was notably worn and made famous by one of the most notorious terrorist leaders of the 20th century, called it a "peace" scarf passes the irony test pretty handily.