Students use fashion to wax political

(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – With less than a month until this year’s heated election, the presidential candidates are not the only ones making political statements.

Politicians, celebrities and voters have been spotted sporting apparel with unique political messages. Popular topics include: Promoting a favorite presidential candidate or encouraging people to vote on November 2.

College students say that clothing with election-related messages reminds people that it is important to vote.

“People who wear shirts like this are saying that it’s important to vote,” said Sarah Miller, a senior at The George Washington University. “It let’s people express their freedom of speech.”

Miller also said that as long as they are not offensive, wearing shirts with political messages it helps other feel more comfortable to vote.

“I saw someone wearing a Kerry/Edward shirt and it made me feel more better that there are other people out there who feel the same way I do.” Other students said that political messages on clothing do not affect them. “I’m not going to vote because a T-shirt tells me to,” said Katelyn Taylor, a junior at Assumption College. “I think it’s important to vote based on what the issues are.”

While voters are expressing themselves, both of the candidates also have signature fashion.

Since the 1960 election between Richard Nixon and John Kennedy, image has become increasingly important. This election had the first televised debates and some politicians and historians say image is one of the reasons why Nixon lost the election. At more formal events, such as the Thursday’s debate, both President Bush and his democratic opponent, Senator John Kerry were dressed in similar campaign couture: both wear dark suits, a red or blue tie and a light colored shirt.

Both men, however, are also noted for their characteristic fashion accessories. When they are more causal however, critics say that Bush and Kerry both have very different looks.

Since his Black Tie & Boots inaugural gala in 2001, President Bush has been known for wearing cowboy boots. The boots are designed by fellow Texan Rocky Carroll, who has also designed shoes for Queen of England and Oprah Winfrey. Bush’s boots for his inauguration included the Presidential and Texas state seals.

Senator John Kerry has sparked attention with his $65 custom-made neck ties, designed by Vineyard Vines. Designs on Kerry’s ties include: Lacrosse sticks, hot air balloons, parrots and palm trees. On the cover of Time magazine, Kerry wore a custom tie with JK04 and little American flags on it.

There are T-shirts with messages that encourage people to vote, or support or oppose a candidate. Sales associates at Washington’s Urban Outfitters, a popular retailer among college students said that the shirts the election related shirts they sell are popular.

Shirt slogans there include: “I dig girls that vote,” “I dig boys that vote,” “Vote John,” with a picture of John Adams on the shirt and “Vote George,” with a picture of George Washington on the shirt.

Other T-shirt slogans found around the Internet include: Luvya Dubya, Re-defeat Bush, John Kerry: Bringing complete sentences back to the White House and Vote Bush, Jesus Would.

While the retail shops and the Internet are full of t-shirts to buy, other types of accessories are also promoting candidates. Remember HBO’s “Sex and the City”? Carrie Bradshaw was famous for her gold name necklace. On www.carrieforkerry.com, one can purchase a replica necklace replacing “Carrie” for “Kerry.” The necklace costs $20, with 25 percent of the profits going to Move On, a political action committee working to beat President Bush.

Anti-Kerry activists are making use of Kerry’s “flip flopping” reputation. Different styles of flip flops are being sold on www.johnkerryflipflops.com, for around $15 ranging to almost $19 per pair.

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