Flag Fashion can be an expression of protest
Sarai Thompson has been donning the green, yellow and black Jamaican flag since she was a little girl. Her parents – both Jamaican immigrants who relocated to New York City before she was born, gave her a sense of pride, which was evident her clothes selections.
The now-27 year-old says, “Fashion is my way of expressing myself. Therefore, I try to incorporate it into my identity.” Thompson still likes to reach for T-shirts as well as Jamaican flag crochet tops and wear them with high waisted jeans and shoes with platform.
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Flag-themed fashions are typically seen with patriotic holidays as well as athletic events. Think: American-flag bikinis worn for July 4th parties or Brazilian flag T-shirts during the FIFA World Cup. Sabrina Strings (Associate Professor of Sociology) at the University of California Irvine says: “It is easy to believe flags only represent our countries of origin and our nationality. For some BIPOC and immigrant communities, however, the flag can be displayed on the sleeve of a person’s on the back or chest, making a strong political statement.
For example, Ever Lopez, a Mexican-American teenager who lives in North Carolina who was initially refused his diploma from high school in June, after he wore the Mexican flag over his gown at his graduation from Asheboro High School. According to the school, Lopez’s flag was not in compliance with the dress code of the school. The school awarded him his diploma only after a mass of student activists and classmates rallied to support the student.