Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Shared Philosophies of the Green Bay Packers and Thrifting, and a Lesson in Recycling Thrift

Besides being home to some of the greatest thrifting that the world has ever seen, our beloved hometown of Green Bay, WI is also home to the greatest football team in the world, the Green Bay Packers. I realize that we probably do not have a very sports-centric readership, so I will clarify that the Packers are playing in the Super Bowl today. This is very exciting for very many reasons, which I will spare enumerating for you here.

What I would like to illustrate, however, are the unlikely parallels in ideology between thrifting and the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are the only professional sports team in the country that are not privately owned. They are, in fact, a non-profit, community-owned organization. This means that a corporation can never put their name on the stadium, that the team can never be bought or sold, and that any resident of the county has priority opportunity to buy tickets before the rest of the general public. As far as pro sports go, that is some serious anti-establishment ethos. Not only that, but the Packers are the last of the "small town teams" that were common in the NFL during the 1920's and 30's,* so they are actually legitimately vintage.

So there you go. They Packers are non-profit and vintage, just like thrifting, and is therefore beating the system.

I definitely spent most of my angsty teenage and early college years rejecting my football lineage. I was much more in to fashion and art and of course, when you are 20 years old, football and those things are mutually exclusive. But after six years in NYC, I relish all things Wisconsin, and I have come back to my roots. It turns out that football is really fun to watch, and I know a ton about it, due to an entire childhood of environmental osmosis and a dad and two brothers who are clinically obsessed.

I was still in anti football mode when I took off from Milwaukee to go to fashion school in NYC. Just before leaving Milwaukee for the big city, my dear friend Cortney presented me with a gift; this recycled, redesigned Packers T-shirt.

I was very eye-rolly when she gave this to me, like I was going to run around New York wearing this or something. But I very much appreciated the sentiment, nonetheless. She had lovingly thrifted me a XXXL Packers T-shirt, cut it up, and refashioned it in to a fitted, off the shoulder, almost sexy Packers tee, with the hopes of coercing me in to wearing it through proper fit. Obviously, that amount of resourcefulness is something I can appreciate. Regardless, I stuck it in a bin under my bed for about four years, but couldn't bring myself to part with it. About a year or so ago, I dug it out, but never wore it. This year, it is getting a lot of play, and I do, in fact, run around New York wearing it.**

The other fantastic design elements of this T-shirt are the bleach spots, the somewhat nasty washed-out green color, the way the "Packers" text stretches fully seam to seam, and the fact that it says "Made in Green Bay" on it. All of these things were of course very carefully considered by Cortney in her redesign of the shirt, as she is a pro at this, and made a million dollars, fifteen dollars at a time, selling these in college. Her T-shirt is also a perfect example of the potential in just about anything you find at a thrift store (as illustrated in or Thrifting Tips), if you are willing to put the work in to altering it.

Most importantly, GO PACK!!!

*this is all lifted from the Packers Wikipedia page. I highly recommend it, it a very fascinating read.

**I even wore it work on Friday. I drew one conclusion. Fashion simply does not know what to make of demonstrations of pro sports enthusiasm.

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