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Vote-mania

There are two camps, just like in the political game. The brands with the themed windows and the ones who have invested in merchandise. New York is predominantly a democratic city, so I think you get the picture.

In the two week run up to the election the upmarket and outspoken (through their window display) fashion store Barneys have had the Laurie Munn’s series The Presidential Wives, portraits of all the First Ladies in their Madison Avenue windows.

We all know how much publicity a well dressed politician’s wife is given, step forward Jacki O and Carla Bruni, and the pictorials dedicated to the fashion mistakes. No names mentioned, but we don’t really score well in the UK. Both Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama have been given the thumbs up throughout the campaign, not always but often dressed in brands available at Barneys, so who will the store unveil on Wednesday morning in the window? Both portraits are apparently already in store!

On a lighter note Jack Rabbit, a running store on 14th, have kitted out the candidates, playing on the running for president headline, highlighting not only the forthcoming election but also the New York Marathon which took place over the weekend. So will it be OBAMAthoner or McCAINthoner who first crosses the line?

Pins (badges) play a large part in the political game here in the US. You proudly wear your opinion on your lapel! Not slow to grab the opportunity for some extra revenue BCBG, a favourite amongst celebrities when donning a beautiful dress for the red carpet, has been selling stylish pins for $1 in all their stores. Chose between the Be Smart Vote, Vote in Style and Vote in Stilettos and you can not only make your voice count, but show off your fashion cred too.

Gap, also an avid supporter of the pin, theirs are limited artist editions, have gone one further and launched the Vote for … (fill in as you feel applicable) t-shirt. You can visit www.gap.com/votefor and see why celebrities are getting out of bed on Tuesday and making their vote count. The t-shirt retails at $15 of which profits go to the non-profitable organisation Declare Yourself, which works to register voters and answer any questions they may have in regards to the voting process.

Never one to be shy of some self publicity Sean John (aka the rap star and business man with the many names) makes the hard hitting statement Vote or Die (a play on Benjamin Franklin’s Join or Die war cry during the American Revolution) on his t-shirts.

Read the blurb on the back of the price ticket and you see words like beliefs, values and constitutional rights. Although I agree with the company that A) fashion is a platform for expression, B) youth should exercise their right to vote and control their future I would have spent the extra cents on updating the price ticket, as these t-shirts have obviously been in the stockroom since the last election. Sean John is urging people to make their voice heard on the November 2, 2004!

But the “retailer” that gets my vote is a great little market stall in Union Square. Not shy of using some of Sarah Palin’s views to Obama’s benefit you can buy t-shirts stating Polar Bears for Obama, Baby Seals for Obama, the list goes on, all favouring animals inhabiting Alaska.

“So what will happen on Wednesday?” I asked the lady who has been running the stall since Obama entered the political radar. “That’s an easy answer”, she said.

“If Obama wins we will be changing the ‘Yes we can’ t-shirts to ‘Yes we did’. If McCain wins, we will be selling ‘We are all moving to Canada’ t-shirts.”

Let’s hope for Change.

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