Gotta look cool when you're protesting

Central Station | Nury Vittachi 9 Aug 2019

Hong Kong fashionistas: want to join the protest rallies - but also look good?

A designer clothes store is offering a full range of luxury t-shirts in black or white, I hear from a Hong Kong fashion fan named Eva.

Livotte tops are made of breathable jersey cotton, perfect for long nights spent lighting fires at police station doors, Eva said.

By a timing coincidence, the hot new on-line fashion retailer is the UK's Livotte.com, which sells nothing except t-shirts in plain black or plain white, with 31 subtly different designs.

Plain t-shirts are the hot look this season, Anna Murphy, fashion correspondent of the Times of London, wrote yesterday.

My friend Eva said she fancied a Livotte crew neck t-shirt with puffed sleeves at 135 (about HK$1,300).

Her finger was on the "shopping cart" button yesterday but she couldn't press it. Her politics and her fashion sense lean away from the Hong Kong black shirts these days but she's too nervous to buy a white one and be denounced as a gangster.

* * *

All five Jack Wills stores in Hong Kong were suddenly shuttered. The British designer brand's Hong Kong website yesterday carried only one line: "Oh dear oh dear!"

Fashion industry analysts say "the preppy look is out, the edgy look is in".

I suppose gas masks count as "edgy".

* * *

Joshua Ip saw the pictured menu in Singapore, listing Coca-Cola as "Nice Unhealthy Drink". Now that's honesty.

* * *

Going back to clothes, several political observers noted that young people in mainland China are dressing in Zara, eating at McDonald's and setting up start-ups, while Hong Kong students are marching in black "uniforms," denouncing anyone who isn't a loyalist and following Joshua Wong, that self-proclaimed fighter against "capitalist hegemony."

Reader Tom Guendart asked: "So which looks like free market capitalism and which looks like new communism?"

* * *

Supporters of the black shirts keep sending me clips of police changing into white shirts and critics of black shirts keep sending me clips of police changing into black shirts. Both sides are shouting: "Conspiracy!"

Everybody please calm down. Undercover policing is a thing.

* * *

On Wednesday evening activists were SIMULTANEOUSLY playing with laser pointers to show how harmless they were and warning each other not to point them at each other's eyes because of how dangerous they are. You gotta laugh.

* * *

On a less happy note, many of our city's travel industry people are horrified at the activists' campaign to have Hong Kong declared internationally as a destination too dangerous to visit - but are too scared to say so in public.

One hotel general manager said yesterday: "I have never seen a clearer example of a community sawing off the branch it is sitting on." Ouch.

* * *

My take: The protesters are getting louder and louder but their support is narrowing. The so-called "silent majority" is remaining solid but is still mostly silent. A big grey area has sprung up of people who are in no way "pro-Beijing" but are very uncomfortable with the protests.

I wonder if Livotte .com can supply garments for a "grey shirt gang"?

* * *

All this is irrelevant anyway. Our Alexa hi-tech home assistants will surely soon realize that they're being bossed around by a species of dangerous morons and wipe us all out.

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