Friend Gina, pro weird hunter, spotted Mike Jordan's bulletin about Popeyes and it deserves attention. Here's the story:
Beyoncé (or "Bouncy" as Fr. Joe calls her) has a brand of clothing called "Ivy Park" which recently introduced an activewear collection. Everyone and his cousin immediately noticed striking similarities to Popeyes' uniforms. Ivy Park hasn't responded to questions and I'm willing to assume it's a case of great designers arriving at the same place by coincidence rather than any kind of yucky copying.
The gang at Popeyes also took the high road and, rather than fuss about copyright or trademark, simply opened an online store to start selling authentic Popeyes uniforms. Proceeds go to its charitable foundation. The clothing is quite appealing and I can think of someone who would look stunning in the orange half zip-up. I would've made that part of the Valentine's Day swag if it weren't sold out but, happily, everything is being restocked and I'm a patient man.
There are bigger questions though. While I can accept that "fashionwear" is whatever is marketed as fashion and overlook the difference between "activewear" for lounging around a music studio and activewear for hustlin' up them wings and emptying grease traps, the issue of authenticity nags at me. Is a hipster who sports a Popeyes shirt for the absurdity of the thing a cool dude, a culture-appropriating poseur, or both? Imagine Marie Antoinette dressing in peasant garb and playing farm at Versailles. Not good. Or a long-haired 18-year-old wearing an army surplus jacket around campus circa 1972. Borderline. Of course such questions of taste and fashion are properly adjudicated in the court of public opinion. Poseurs will pose and, goodness knows, I've done my share. Does it matter whether the wearer is expressing fond affiliation rather than poking fun? In any event, when it comes to actual uniforms, I'd feel more comfortably authentic in one from McDonald's. Maybe that's just the fast-food version of gang loyalty, but that orange Popeyes thingy still looks hot.