Hipsters love to think they’re suffering for their art. While the rest of the world wastes away with Big Gulps in front of 60-inch televisions, paying homage to consumerism and the all-American value of being famous for being completely useless to society otherwise, they are taking their typewriters to the park, where they are struggling against the forces of nature and the itchiness of their facial hair to bring you a deeper understanding of the plight of the dark world through poetry they wrote at a pop-up loft party last week while high on cocaine and wearing a $400 flannel.
But they do like to look at least like they’re suffering. Or, at least, they enjoy adopting random cultural touchstones that represent oppression and struggle for their own. Like food stamps. Or those weird Indian-print panties they’re always hocking at Urban Outfitters. Or, in this case, the union label. Because, why join a union and pay lip service to the rights of workers, when you can buy a really expensive pair of pants that makes you look like you just came off an 18 hour shift at the Homestead steel plant?
Unionmade is an upscale men’s clothing store, based in San Francisco and celebrated by GQ, that sells $258 “Vintage Styled Work Shirts” and $68 Cow Horn Combs and $565 “Vintage” Levi Jeans, and things of that nature. The company says that it “aims to improve the lives of our customers, community and suppliers by offering fairly priced products made from the best available materials.”
Who doesn’t need a $68 comb? Also, they sell an axe. For $750. But it’s a real axe.
Despite it’s overt commitment to bringing back the “independent” lifestyle practiced by people at the turn of the century, when indoor plumbing was scarce, but artisan products were all the rage because people just made their own sh*t because Whole Foods didn’t exist, Unionmade is facing at least one problem with it’s heavily curated product line of overpriced things that no one needs. It all might be made in America, but it doesn’t happen to be, well, union made. And that has the actual unions who make things in a bit of a huff.
the AFL-CIO is, “not flattered by imitation.” The cease and desist letter sent by AFL-CIO counsel to Unionmade Thursday demanded:
By your own admission, these stores do not necessarily sell items that are made by union members, as the name UNIONMADE would otherwise suggest. The AFL-CIO finds your use of the UNIONMADE mark highly misleading as the dictionary definition and understanding amongst the public is that “union-made” means “produced by workers belonging to a labor union.”
It’s hard to tell who to hate more in this scenario, except that the union probably has the better case, given that Unionmade pretty much just appropriated their logo. Unless, of course, Unionmade is using the term “union made” ironically to demonstrate that, should unions have their way, ever article of clothing produced by a union member would retail for a “fair price” of $300, which in turn would demand some increase to the living wage, then someone probably has a trademark dispute on their hands. Otherwise, this is a death match starring two groups of people who will no doubt be dressed like very fancy lumberjacks.
[via Kemberlee at FreedomWorks]