Martin Castro/Unsplash

Martin Castro/Unsplash

It’s a Grand Old Flag

A little late for Independence Day, but nonetheless interesting. An examination of the psychology of wearing clothes featuring the American flag.

Apparel brands incorporate the flag in their products with mixed success. Nike just received considerable criticism (and also some praise) for ditching a new shoe that was to feature the “Betsy Ross” flag, which to some is a symbolism of patriotism and to others a symbol of slavery.

Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger use American flag iconography in lines of clothing, as does the lesser-known brand Shinesty, which has embraced the flag wholeheartedly.  On the other hand, one of the people quoted in the articles describes how some consumers become irate when stores sell American flag shirts or car dealers fly their company flag alongside the American flag.

The author concludes that the flag is a blank canvas upon which we all co-create meaning.  As she states, “Research shows that the clothing we wear is deeply tied to our identity, belonging, self-presentation, mood, and values. So it’s no wonder that the flag, and all that it could symbolize, has become a staple of the fashion industry and many people’s wardrobes.”