Sunday, February 1, 2009

Brooklyn Fashion Gets Political



If you were in New York during the Presidential election season, you might have noticed these fabulous handmade pins so many Obama supporters were sporting. Heck, maybe you even participated in one of those pin-making parties at Moxie's Cafe in Brooklyn helped create them and mail them to swing states.
2008 was a year that change was in the air for America, and one couldn't help but be swept up in the fervor and the promise of a new administration, a turning point in this country's history. Fashion was no exception. Famous designers such as Donatella Versace and Marc Jacobs were sending Obama campaign-inspired looks down the runway with messages like "hope", "vote", and "change" emblazoned on their creations. And Vogue's editor-at-large, the influential Andre Leon Talley revealed in his monthly column that "yours truly hasn't taken off the Sidney Garber safety pin and charm with the word HOPE spelled out in pave diamonds since Election Night."
But for those of us with a less diamond-esque budget, a Brooklyn teacher provided us with a charm that was equally fashionable and absolutely free. I receieved my piece of fashion history while ringing up a customer at the grocery store I was working at in Brooklyn Heights. She had the most adorable Obama pin I'd ever seen: it was turquoise with a shadow outline of the soon-to-be President's face, and framed with glitter. The safety pin it was attached to had a set of colorful plastic confetti pieces decorating it. "Where did you get that?" I exclaimed. I had been looking for something unique to show my support, the typical red white and blue color palette and the same boring campaign buttons I'd seen everywhere were not my cup of tea. "Oh, there's a teacher that makes them. Here, you can have mine. In fact, take two. I've got a whole bunch." She handed me the one she was wearing along with a much larger black and white pin.
As Election Night drew closer, these pins were all over Brooklyn, in all sizes and colors. They were such a unique and creative way to show support. And then one day I flipped open a copy of the Daily News, and there's Sarah Jessica Parker working the phones at an Obama campaign office in Manhattan, rocking a hot pink version of the pin! They were becoming high fashion.
The elections are over (and now the real work begins) but like Mr. Talley, I'm still sporting my pin. It not only represents a moment in America's history, but also one piece of the grassroots efforts of creative folks in Brooklyn, New York.

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