Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 7, 2000

Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / October 7, 2000

When did this country go name-brand nuts? You can’t go anywhere without seeing name brands plastered over everyone’s clothing, bags, satchels, cars, bicycles and everything else they own. I honestly and truly couldn’t care lessabout name brands on anything.

I bought a new bicycle for exercise purposes a couple of weeks ago. When Itell anyone about it, without fail, the first questions is “What brand is it?” I don’t know. It’s got two wheels, no hand brakes, no extra speeds. It’s blue. Imight add a mirror to it. That’s all I know.I like the clothing over at Old Navy. I’d buy some, too, except it has the OldNavy logo plastered all over every item. I really don’t care to be their walkingbillboard.

I don’t have any alligator shirts. I don’t have any Nike shoes or any Nike geardecorated with their Swoosh. I didn’t even know it was called a “Swoosh”until a few months ago.

Not long ago, I did a story for this newspaper about school uniforms. Onestore, which I did not name and will not name here, discussed their “designer label” uniforms.

Did I miss something? Wasn’t it one of the points of uniforms to get students away from designer labels? It’s really, really tough to find unlabeled T-shirts. Try and find a T-shirt,apart from the underwear section, which does not have a designer label or promoting some event, rock star, sports hero or alcoholic beverage.

Personally, I’ve always thought it would be so neat that when you bought some designer label product or item of clothing, you got paid a small fee to show off for them.

Now, I do make a point of buying T-shirts from special events, such as festivals and concerts. I have a nice collection of Alligator Festival shirts anda number of rock music T-shirts, from the Rolling Stones to Santana. I havea few other oddities, such as a fake Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt from Jamaica.

I also don’t mind wearing those T-shirts you receive when you donate a pint of blood. That’s just a good thing to do, if you can do it, and I don’t mindpromoting that at all.

As cigarette and beer advertising fell off television, more and more of it is appearing on T-shirts and in movies. There’s a system where companies paymovie studios to have their logos prominently displayed in the course of a movie, such as a Coca-Cola sign in the background. Those aren’t there byaccident – you’re meant to notice them and remember and, if you like Bruce Willis or somebody like that, buy those products.

Guess that’s why I like the “Star Wars” movies – no Swoosh.

LEONARD GRAY is a reporter for L’Observateur.

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