Living in a time of extreme social division and political unrest in Europe and beyond, it may feel just slightly meaningless to go shopping and adorn yourself in the latest season of your favorite high street brand. True, shopping solves many things – but contrary to what some politicians would have you believe, political crises or global conflict is not one of them. Does that mean, however, that fashion cannot be political – that what we wear has no agency to change minds, initiate discussion, or visually protest? The Berlin-based art/fashion agency and brand König Souvenir recently joined this discussion with the launch of their latest souvenir: a circular star-studded classic hoodie in a bright navy blue that effectively makes its wearer a walking, fashionable EU flag – with a 24-hour hotline printed in the back. Responding to the wide-spread oblivion to the European Union and its importance for a democratic Europe amongst young people (which led to the fatal Brexit earlier this year), the sweater wishes to ignite discussion through smart and easily-recognizable visual codes (one star in the circle is noticably absent, representing UK’s pending exit from the EU). The hoodie was launched with a panel discussion on the European crisis at the brand headquarters at St. Agnes, Berlin, on May 25th 2017, featuring artist Wolfgang Tillmans, who initiated an international pro-European campaign to prevent Brexit, as well as a local EU politician. While König Souvenir’s EU sweater might not get the UK to give up the divorce papers and return to the Union, it’s a clear message for whatever doubters or ignorants in the remaining 27 countries.
EUnify Hoodie by König Souvenir – €59
Photography: Andreas Schreiner