Monday, November 3, 2014

100 American Shirts

3rd Nov 2014

One of the most bizarre and sobering things I’ve observed in Rwanda is the endless supply of American shirts.  Every day, everywhere I go, I see familiar images and distinctly American names and slogans on people’s clothing.  Those shirts which don’t have logos or text or pictures are probably also from America.

It is evidence of an economic cycle in our globalized world, where Americans (and probably not Europeans, as far as I’ve observed) buy new clothes in American stores or on vacations, get tired of them, and take them to the thrift store, from which they are soon shipped on palettes on barges to poor countries, where people find them in the most remote of villages and buy them for a very low price.  In the sense that poor people are able to clothe themselves at very little cost, it may seem a very positive thing.  But, on the other hand, a constant supply of unwanted clothes from the States also inhibits the possibility for Rwandans to produce and sell textiles in Rwanda: they can’t compete with free clothes from the States!  This causes problems for Rwanda’s economy at large: some studies claim that it is nearly impossible for a country to build a strong economy without a strong domestic textile industry.

It’s a complex global issue, and there’s not necessarily a right way to feel about it.  You can think it’s morally right or wrong, or “intellectually stimulating,” or funny.  But I’ll tell you how I feel: I’m sickened.  I think that Americans need to be less wasteful.  Read the list, and decide for yourself!

100 American Shirts

1.   Maple Grove T-Ball
2.   Wauwautosa Parks and Recreation
3.   picture of animals from Madagascar wearing Santa Claus hats
4.   John Cena (photograph and text)
5.   Phineas and Ferb (picture and text)
6.  American flag (girl’s dress)
7.   picture of American football, text: “Don’t Give Up Ground”
8.   One Tough Cookie (picture of Cookie Monster)
9.   Flight Squad Ace demolition pilot
10. Cleveland Clinic Police Safety Fair
11.  West Pine Middle School presents Mulan
12.  The Sushi Room (blue waiter’s polo)
13.  LOVE
14.  picture of Sonic the Hedgehog covers entire shirt
15.  Brooklyn
16.  picture of USA map on top of an American flag
17.  San Francisco (text above a tye-dye peace sign)
18.  Little Rock CTC (picture of dueling guitars)
19.  Union Catholic Alumni (polo shirt)
20.  Kelloggs (polo, picture of Tony the Tiger)
21.  FISD physical education
22.  Mountain Dew (vintage logo)
23.  Practically Perfect (pictures of small butterflies and tropical flowers surround text)
24.  Sweater: “When will I be famous?”
25.  Holiday Park Zoo
26.  A baby romper covered in UK flags
27.  full-shirt picture of Superman, Flash, and Green Lantern
28.  IBM
29.  Reading Road summer reading program (picture of a mouse in a care, USA flag behind)
30.  LSU Tigers
31.   Chicago Blackhawks (jersey)
32.  US Coast Guard (button-up shirt)
33.  picture of the Grinch and his dog Max
34.  “Life is a game, TWIRLING is serious”
35.  I always give 100% at work (pictures below, probably with a joking message)
36.  ARMY
37.  Pike Place Market
38.  Mexico
39.  Smithsonian National Zoo
40.  San Pedro Racing Hand-Grooved Wheels
41.  University of Michigan College of Engineering
42.  Athens Middle School Blue Hornet Band
43.  Noah’s Ark Summer Camp 2010
45.  American Eagle (gray polo)
46.  ProTec Safety First (fleece vest)
47.  GAP (90’s-style half-zip fleece)
48.  Polo Ralph Lauren (red polo)
49.  Newcastle Brown Ale (striped referee style jersey)
50.  Samsung
51.  Irish Whiskey
52.  Spongebob Squarepants
53.  Life’s a Game; Hunting is Serious (pictures of hunting weapons behind text)
54.  Mickey Mouse
55.  Dolce & Gabanna
56.  GAP
57.  Mark Zhen Designs Spokes
58.  “The Drums” (hoodie with picture of trapset)
59.  Crown only a king wears (zip-up sweater)
60.  RVCA
61.  The Avengers (animated comic book characters)
62.  Your Brain in the Game (basketball silhouette)
63.  BMX Motorcross (motorbike exploding from shirt)
64.  Jägermeister (worn by little girl)
65.  Pretty Little Cowgirl (cheesy cartoon)
66.  Biscuit Shop (cartoon pictures of baked goods)
67.  Abercrombie (below text, a winged shoe bearing the number ’72)
68.  USPA (giant logo)
69.  Basketball (silhouette of a male athlete)
70.  Full Speed Sport
71.  The Avengers (picture from the recent movie)
72. Yu-Gi-Oh (picture of one of the main characters)
73.  TROY (picture of a boyish Zac Efron from High School Musical)
74.  Time to Sleep (pajama shirt?)
75.  Animatrix 06.03 (advertising a movie release)
76.  Kauai (picture of flip flops)
77.  Pembina Trails School Division
78.  FOX (brand name with a fox head silhouette in place of the letter O)
79.  Crestview Schools
80.  Imperial Valley College
81.  Jersey: Urlacher, Chicago Bears
82.  “Stop pretending you don’t want me”
83.  “Punk Princess Rocks the Future” (pictures of various punk-style things, like plaid hearts with wings)
84.  Alvarez Harvesting— Wimoma, Florida (snap-button jacket)
85.  Shaun of the Dead
86.  Batman (seal)
87.  Obama-Biden (their faces imposed over stars and stripes)
88.  Bart Simpson
89.  Forever Love (punk hearts)
90.  Amherst soccer
91.  Bart Simpson on a skateboard
92.  Snoopy and Woodstock
93.  Alaska Adventure ’86 (fleece jacket)
94.  Levi Strauss & Co.
95.  Iowa State
96.  MN Vikings jersey: #84 Randy Moss
97.  Solid Rock Christian Summer Camp
98.  “I’m Bad, Meaning Good”
99.  Hello Kitty (at least three)
100.  Spider-Man (at least five or ten unique shirts)

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