Jesse Jackson ’88 tees are hot in Asia. Here’s why.
October 20, 2018 6:32 AM   Subscribe

Jesse Jackson's 1988 presidential campaign logo trending in Asian fashion "The Jesse Jackson ’88 “content” is the least important aspect of the shirt. In today’s globalized world, items can jump between cultures, but they mostly succeed in other places because they take on completely new meanings upon arrival."
posted by MythMaker (15 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Cute Korean pop culture 88 is better than Nazi hate culture 88.
posted by Nelson at 7:30 AM on October 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

Thanks! This serves as a fairly satisfying explanation for the "Minutes to Midnight LINKIN PARK" (and KNKIN PARK etc) t-shirts that seemed to be all over the place in Beijing in 2016/2017.
posted by zhwj at 7:40 AM on October 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

Now I want one of those shirts. Is that wrong? I do like Jesse Jackson, but I also like to be cool.
posted by TreeRooster at 8:21 AM on October 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

Not sure about the rest of the world, but the Fascist Eagle BOY brand is very hot here in China. Elsewhere I would be suspicious of the wearers, but based on polling of youngish locals they really and truly are oblivious. That's a good lookin' eagle, and creepy for old people.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:31 AM on October 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

88 is a lucky number in Korea too. For example, my friend J was born on the 8th of August in 1988 (also GDragon's birthday) and she says her Korean extended family used to always comment that it was too bad she wasn't a boy, because it was a waste for a girl to have such a lucky birthday.
posted by subdee at 10:28 AM on October 20, 2018

The belief that 8 is a lucky number is not the part of Korean culture that stands out most in that story.
posted by Nelson at 10:41 AM on October 20, 2018

the Fascist Eagle BOY brand is very hot here in China

Wasn’t that something Madonna popularised in the 80s?
posted by acb at 12:13 PM on October 20, 2018

My husband has an original Jesse Jackson campaign shirt that he wears occasionally.
posted by sciencegeek at 12:25 PM on October 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

Now you can tell him that he's ahead of the curve :)

Anecdotally, I recall hearing that UCLA gear was popular as a brand for French youth in the late 1990s, if my memory of an exchange student asking for "Ukla" shirts is at all accurate.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:25 PM on October 20, 2018

The belief that 8 is a lucky number is what stood out to me from the headline, though... Like obviously that's played a role in the popularity of this particular shirt. There's not a lot of new information in the article if you follow Asian fashion at all.
posted by subdee at 1:35 PM on October 20, 2018

I was last in Seoul a year and a half ago, coincidentally during Fashion Week there so a significant portion of downtown was full of fashionistas, hangers-on, but much more importantly vendors from the clothing and fabric markets setting up stalls on the sidewalks as close to the DDP as they could get.

They were full of clothing like this, and while I find them endlessly entertaining, I think their designs have a lot less to do with poor English comprehension than with the fashionability of using western writing as arbitrary design elements, identical to how western designers use random snippets of gibberish in Chinese or Japanese to give prints and fabrics an indeterminately Asian theming.
posted by ardgedee at 1:36 PM on October 20, 2018 [8 favorites]

An Egyptologist friend once attempted to translate the random bullshit hieroglyphs on some piece of Egypto-kitsch (I think it was a toilet paper holder or something equally dignified.) It was a charming little story about the Balloon Snake Goddess.
posted by Foosnark at 3:59 PM on October 20, 2018 [6 favorites]

English characters are a decorative thing in Asian fashion. This is nothing new. In 2005, one of my 7 year old students came to class in Seoul, wearing a T-shirt that featured the full "choose life" rant from Trainspotting. The shirt included the sweary bits of the rant, interspersed with delicate pink and yellow butterflies. I looked for one in my own size for ages.
posted by peppermind at 7:13 PM on October 20, 2018 [6 favorites]

peppermind I have seen similar bizarre juxtapositions. A pre teen girl with "crazy party bitch" on her t-shirt, recently there is a trend for jackets with really kitschy romance embroidered on the back - "I am the only one for you," "Your love is all I need,"... in huge letters, on the back of the jacket, for the general public... Oi oi what a funny planet!
posted by Meatbomb at 7:57 PM on October 20, 2018

> Fascist Eagle BOY brand

Yeah, they've been around for decades - I still have a couple of gorgeous black/fluoro androgynous rave tops I got from them in Camden in the early 00s, but they subsequently moved on from that subculture. Before that they were super punky, I think? I've no idea what the deal is with the eagle - it wasn't part of the logo while I was into them (although the "BOY" bit was, in the same typeface).
posted by doop at 5:54 AM on October 21, 2018

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