Retail Confusion and Graphic Tee Phrases

mla214-394s493l040001_f_1Today I walked into the Brandy Melville store on Queen St. West.

Intrigued by the cute clothes and the fact that I’ve never actually checked out the place, what I saw inside the store was loud music, lots of high-waisted shorts and basic T-shirts.

But while I wouldn’t call the quality great, I thought some of the dresses, jackets and accessories were really cute.

The graphic tees on the other hand, not so much.

I think I may be overthinking the design of these T-shirts but there’s just something that rubs me the wrong way when I see shirts that say ” “Thug Life”, “Doin Hoodrat Thangs”, “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” and “Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It.” 

I know for a fact that the last two refer to songs by Kendrick Lamar and Ice Cube. However, I want to make an assumption that a lot of people wearing these shirts probably don’t even know where these phrases originate from and are hardly doing anything remotely close to being a “hoodrat” or a “thug.”

According to Urban Dictionary, being a “hoodrat” refers to trashy, bratty, trouble-making behaviour. Being a “thug” on the other hand, means someone going through struggles or has experienced struggles (as Tupac defined it).

None of these terms seem particularly fitting to an average young woman’s life (I know I’m generalizing) given the privilege many of us have living in Toronto. So why would Brandy Melville want to endorse these types of sayings?

Disagree if you will, but this might JUST be an example of the unintentional ignorance to culture that has been bothering me so much lately.  For me, using these phrases for the sake of being “hip” and “fashionable” actually seems pretty offensive.

Is it cute to wear something with a phrase like “Doin Hoodrat Thangs” and  “Thug Life” because it’s “funny” and related to *~PoPuLaR CuLTUrE~*?? And also, what DID Gangsta Rap really make you do? 

Stuff like this really bothers me because I know Brandy Melville is geared towards a young clientele that most probably doesn’t understand what these phrases mean and where they come from. Instead, it’s just another graphic tee that’s “liek totally in style” and together, they can all look cute by pairing their shirts with a pair of ripped high-waisted shorts.

What’s ironic here is that the whole premise of Ice Cube’s “Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It” criticizes Western society’s assumption that gangsta rap is the root of all crimes. Now to see young girls putting on a shirt that says something like this for the sake of “fashion” definitely takes out all the meaning of what Ice Cube is trying to convey. mla106-428s002l019001_f_1

Again, I feel like I’m probably overthinking this situation but there’s just something very wrong with seeing young girls going into trends without thinking twice about what and where certain phrases come from.

This just makes me feel even more conflicted with Brandy Melville. Because while I think their graphic tees are whack and ignorant, some of their dresses and sweaters are things I would totally wear.

This is an awkward position to be in but I guess this means I should probably exercise my morals.

Until they realize just how unintentionally ignorant it is to use these phrases, Brandy Melville will most probably not be having a shopper in me for a while. 


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