A modest proposal

Somebody posted this photo somewhere yesterday (sorry, can’t remember who) and it got me thinking.

First of all, in case you don’t know, this is a shirt for the Swedish (indie) pop band bob hund (yes, it’s supposed to be all lower case), worn by some poor kid in Africa (I’m just guessing here, but that’s what it looks like, right?). Yeah, I bet some of you are thinking ‘wow, that’s a great distressed look’. I know I am.

This reminds me of a story I heard a while back, about when Sweden’s two biggest Iron Maiden fans, brothers Pelle and Erik, were watching a TV program about some tribe in the Amazon. Suddenly, a kid appears on the screen wearing an ancient Iron Maiden shirt, a shirt that would be worth hundreds of dollars, should it appear on eBay.

So, this gives me an idea. For years and years, it’s been a profitable business to vacuum thrift shops and flea markets in the u.s. for shirts with any kind of print on it (you know what I mean; Joe’s plumbing, Maple Rapids Bowling League but also Carlton Childrens Hospital and seemingly uncool stuff like that) and then sell it to fashion concious youths in Europe.

Why not do the same in Africa, but with a better selection process? Travel areas that have received disaster relief in the form of used clothing from the western world and buy all the vintage band t-shirts you can lay your hands on and flog them on eBay. It is possible that the travel and shipping expenses would eat up a large part of the profit – but at least a lot of shirts could be saved/salvaged and given a more loving and caring new home. And think of the added cool factor that the provenance would bring! “Yeah, this 80’s Winger shirt was worn by a child soldier in Sierra Leone. With the money I paid for it, he’s bought a small farm for his parents”.

I’m hoping the fact that the poor souls that would be selling these ‘vintage, distressed’ shirts would make well-needed money from this saves me from going to hell after writing this. I’m not so sure though, most likely carpet-baggery would ensue, buying valuable Rolling Stones shirts for glass beads, that’s how it usually goes.

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