Show al­le­giance to your food tribe with the new breed of gourmet gear

ELLE (Australia) - - Contents -

Are you game enough to rock burger sneak­ers?

LAST WEEK I SAW a woman wear­ing a jumper with the Keen’s Mustard logo, re­fash­ioned into the slo­gan “Keen as Mustard”. Then my friend Lea, who works in food me­dia, told me she was on a wait­ing list for a pair of Shake Shack sneak­ers. Yeah, your favourite Amer­i­can burger joint now sells sneak­ers; part of a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Kiwi sneaker brand All­birds.

While food and fash­ion have al­ways had some pretty clear con­nec­tions – both are sea­sonal, driven by hype, em­brace the con­cept of high-low and so on – food merch is some­thing slightly dif­fer­ent. It’s not just wear­ing a Ganni crois­sant T-shirt or a pair of Char­lotte Olympia fruit salad slip­pers (though for the record, I’d wear both) – it’s go­ing to Ken­tucky Fried Chicken’s US web­site and or­der­ing a branded (and hon­estly, kind of cute) sweat­shirt (again: yep, would wear).

Fash­ion has long found in­spi­ra­tion in food, from Bey­once’s “Kale” jumper to Dolce & Gab­bana’s painterly veg­etable prints from 2012. “Graphic prints of fruits such as pineap­ples, lemons and cher­ries make for such eye-catch­ing de­signs,” says El­iz­a­beth von der Goltz, global buy­ing di­rec­tor at Net-a-porter. They look great and they’re per­fect for so­cial me­dia.” (See: this sea­son’s Gucci pineap­ple sun­glasses, Miu Miu’s cherry top, Jac­que­mus’s mis­matched le­mon ear­rings, HVN’S cherry pat­tern dress.)

It’s one thing to stick a straw­berry print on a whim­si­cal skirt, though, and quite an­other to an­nounce your love of Mcdon­ald’s with a pair of the fast food gi­ant’s py­ja­mas (they re­leased a lim­ited-edi­tion line in 2016). The rise in branded food cloth­ing is a mix of kitschy cool that, like von der Goltz says, is tai­lor-made for the In­sta­gram age, and a form of self-ex­pres­sion that po­si­tions the wearer as both fash­ion-con­scious and cul­tur­ally in the know. It’s be­havioural iden­tity writ small, she says. “Food pro­vides a spe­cial and shared ex­pe­ri­ence that we all un­der­stand – what you eat tells the story of who you are, and that’s the same as cloth­ing. It’s a form of self-ex­pres­sion.” There’s cur­rency, after all, in know­ing what to eat and where to go: food merch is a clever fast-track to an­nounce that, yeah, not only do you know about the dough­nuts at Short­stop, you’ve been there, done that, and yep, bought the T-shirt.

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