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What The Alt-Right Wears And Why

Fashion
Collage photos via Getty Images

“Chad” appeal is apparently a thing

At this point, we’ve all seen the bone-chilling images that came out of Charlottesville just over a week ago. Mobs of white supremacists chanting, “Jews will not replace us” and “blood and soil,” as they marched through the streets of the Virginia city. While what those men were wearing might seem irrelevant and haphazard, it’s not. What they wear is integral to their movement and perceived legitimacy, as well as critical to their recruitment of new members in joining what they call the “alt-right.” Style is crucial to the white supremacist movement in 2017.

In anticipation of the Charlottesville rally, Andrew Anglin, who runs the recently removed-from-its-server hate site the Daily Stormer, wrote a post to his followers instructing them on what to wear for what many considered to be the white supremacists’ contemporary coming out party, their largest gathering in two decades, according to a Vice documentary. Anglin told his followers to look “hip,” “sexy,” “dangerous,” “appealing,” adding “that means you have to go to the gym.” He told those reading what kind of shirts to wear: “The worst look ever is a baggy T-shirt. Wear fitted T-shirts, where the sleeve goes to the middle of your bicep. It should not hang lower than base of your member.” His instructions continued: “Jeans should also be fitted. Not tight, just fitted… don’t ever wear shorts. Serious men in serious situations are not wearing shorts.” 

If that weren’t instruction enough, Anglin expanded on his exhortation to “got to the gym,” and included further body image expectations: “Continued obesity should not be tolerated. Surely, a lot of our target demographic is going to be out of shape, which is why we need a culture of fitness.” He wrote, “We need to be extremely conscious of what we look like, and how we present ourselves. That matters more than our ideas. If that is sad to you, I’m sorry, but that is just human nature. If people see a bunch of mismatched overweight slobs they are not going to care what they are saying.” 

“We must have Chad Nationalism,” he noted, referencing a term for bro culture. “That is what will make guys want to join us, that is what will make girls want to be our groupies. That will make us look like bad boys and heroes. That is what we are going for here.” 

Largely, what the white supremacists turned out in were polo shirts, mostly white, and khakis. They followed Anglin’s instruction: clean, preppy, polished. “It’s the perfect uniform look for Middle America,” costume designer, researcher, and associate professor Leslie Yarmo said in an interview. “These are people who obviously want to appeal, in my opinion, to people in Middle America, people going to church and associating them [the alt-right] with these good, respectable, clean ideas. They’re absolutely dressing like this because they think it will gain them more respect.” 

“Mainstream is less threatening than something off-beat,” Daniel James Cole, costume designer and NYU adjunct professor of costume studies, said in an interview, his words conjuring comparisons to the hooded Klan robes of decades past. “The agenda is more palatable if it comes from a context that does not look extreme.”  

When speaking with a proclaimed member of the alt-right, he confirmed these ideas. “Alt-righters often wear polo shirts, button downs, or business suits in their everyday lives. This carries over into how we dress at conferences and rallies,” Henry Wolff, the assistant editor of the “race realism” website the American Renaissance, said over email. “Alt-righters often dress like traditional college students—somewhat preppy but not in an overdone way as is common among fraternity members.” 

“I don’t often see alt-righters promoting specific brands. Most brands are marketed to mixed-race audiences (even brands like Vineyard Vines and Brooks Brothers which appeal almost exclusively to whites), so there isn’t really a brand that we’d wholly endorse,” he said. 

Anglin’s post does not include detailed haircut instructions, though it does specify “short.” The “Nazi youth” haircut, called the “fashy” in today’s alt-right parlance, tends to be the group's preferred look. “At our conference two weeks ago there were many young people sporting it (I’d guess around 30 percent of them),” Wolff said. 

But why is their look so important and whom are they trying to emulate? As Anglin wrote in his post, the look is nearly as important as the mission mostly because of recruitment and legitimacy. “That is what will make guys want to join us.” As for who they are emulating, the white supremacist movement has its own internal sartorial heroes. Richard Spencer, president of the white nationalist think tank the National Policy Institute, being one; Nathan Damigo, the founder of Identity Evapora which focuses on white European identity, being another. Both men give off a polished, old-school professorial vibe. On Twitter, Damigo even goes by the moniker “Fashy Haircut.” 

As GQ noted, some extremist white supremacists consider Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people at a camp in Norway in 2011, a hero. Breivik also paid attention to his look. In his manifesto, he encouraged followers to, “dress smartly, but to avoid symbols associated with Nazism.” 

And then there’s Donald Trump. “They’re clearly emulating Trump,” Yarmo said via interview. “People throughout history have dressed like their heroes and rulers.” 

On Monday a side-by-side photo, comparing Trump in a MAGA hat and golfing clothes to Charlottesville protesters, was circulated online and shared in the Costume People Facebook group (a group of professional costume designers and academics from across the country). The author of the post, Ingrid Price, wrote, “This goes in the ‘psychology of dress’ category… Groups tend to adopt a ‘uniform,’ whether it’s Wall Streeters in their power suits or Japanese salarymen in their white shirts and dark ties, or, well … you get the drift.” The Trump similarities were enough to get a community of costume designers talking. The image has been shared more than 44,000 times at the time of publishing. 

It could be easy to brush off the white supremacist’s sartorial similarities as coincidence, or merely the clothing of the American everyman, but that’s not exactly so. This clothing, like all clothing, is a communication tool, a narrative, an image projected. The image here is meant to seem smart, scholarly even, superior, organized, legitimate—aspirational. 

A wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing is still very much a wolf, but the alt-right seems to be banking on the desire of the sheep to revere that wolf. Today’s white supremacists know how much image matters (even preferring the toned-down name "alt-right"), and they’re doing what they can, via a DIY uniform, to present a cohesive group that exists offline and not just via memes and internet threads. As Anglin writes, the image “matters more than our ideas.” 

What the movement has learned is that without the sartorial trappings of mainstream respectability, their ideas would be tossed aside as the ramblings of a radical few. Dressed like anyone, or everyone, their philosophy manages to feel more dangerous, largely because it feels sinisterly familiar. This army of polo shirts, khakis, red hats, looks terrifyingly like some guys we might have met at a party once; they’re banking on that "Chad" appeal to entice recruits. 

No matter what they’re wearing, though, or how innocuous they look, these men are hate-filled, dangerous radicals, proof that wolves have forgone sheep’s clothing for khakis and polo shirts.

Screenshot via YouTube

The band shared details about their new St. Vincent-produced album that will drop "you into the world of catastrophe"

Sleater-Kinney just shared more information about their St. Vincent-produced album and dropped a new single.

Per Billboard, Sleater-Kinney revealed that their new album, which they've been teasing since early this year and will be their first since No Cities To Love from 2015, will be called The Center Won't Hold. It's due out on August 16 via Mom + Pop Records. "We're always mixing the personal and the political but on this record, despite obviously thinking so much about politics, we were really thinking about the person—ourselves or versions of ourselves or iterations of depression or loneliness—in the middle of the chaos," Carrie Brownstein said in a statement. Corin Tucker further noted that the new album will "[drop] you into the world of catastrophe that touches on the election."

Janet Weiss noted that the band will "explore a different sound palette" with this album, and pointed to St. Vincent as the reason behind it. She said that St. Vincent "has a lot of experience building her own music with keyboards and synthesizers so she could be our guide to help us make sense of this new landscape and still sound like us."

To satiate us until then, the band released a lyric video for new single, "The Future Is Here," which is very grungy. Bump it, below.

Sleater-Kinney - The Future Is Here (Official Lyric Video) www.youtube.com

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This is so satisfying!

Even Jon Snow knows just how unsatisfying the final season of Game of Thrones was, and he's ready to apologize. Well, a deepfake of him is at least. A heavily-edited version of Snow's speech from the fourth episode—just before the bodies of those lost in the Battle of Winterfell get burned—now features Snow apologizing for the conclusion of the show and lighting the script on fire.

"It's time for some apologies. I'm sorry we wasted your time," Snow begins. "And I know nothing made sense at the end. When the Starbucks cup is the smallest mistake, you know you fucked up! We take the blame. I'm sorry we wrote this in like six days or something," he adds, before signaling to his peers to light the script with torches and "just forget it forever." "Fuck Season 8," he says before the pages begin to crackle and burn.

If there were more lines left to alter, we would have loved to see Snow also tackle how messy Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister's story line ended up, as well as Bran's kingship, Cersei's boring demise, and the water bottle appearance.

Watch the entire deepfake and try to heal the wounds left by HBO below.

BREAKING: JON SNOW FINALLY APOLOGIZED FOR SEASON 8 youtu.be

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Photo by Darren Craig

It premieres today, exclusively via NYLON

In LP's song "Shaken," the most recent single from her 2018 record Heart To Mouth, she tells the story of seeing her lover out with someone else—ouch. Today, exclusively on NYLON, she releases a cheeky animated music video that pokes fun at the song's heightened drama and perfectly demonstrates all the angst that comes with falling hard for someone.

"She looks at you like I used to/ And I'm just sitting in the corner sh-sh-shaken," LP sings, as the visual—with art by Maayan Priva—depicts the singer hanging out in a bar, watching the girl she likes meet up with another girl. Despite the situation's inherent drama, "Shaken" is less of a ballad and more of an upbeat bop. LP told us she loves the way "this little video captures some of the fun of the song, and its inherent comical anxiety." Sure, heartbreak isn't that funny, but our (sometimes) overly dramatic reaction to it kind of is.

"'Shaken' feels like a bit of a wild card on this record," LP says. "It's the closest I've come to writing a musical, which I hope to do one day." We heartily endorse this idea: Please, LP, give us the queer jukebox musical we crave.

Until that day comes, though, you can watch the music video for "Shaken," below.

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Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.

This cameo has the Beyhive buzzing

I went to see Men In Black: International alone. Which would have been fine if it wasn't for the shock I received when I saw two specific characters on the screen. Unable to keep it to myself, I shared a curious look with the stranger next to me, who was obviously thinking the same thing as me. "Is that them...?" I whispered first. "I think… so," she replied. Then the two men in question started to dance, and we were both sure: "Yep, that's them."

It was Laurent and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois, better known as Les Twins. Fans of Beyoncé will recognize the duo as the talented brothers who often accompany her on tour and in music videos. In Men In Black: International, the two of them play shapeshifting entities—they're more like energy forces than aliens—who pursue Tessa Thompson's and Chris Hemsworth's characters throughout the duration of the film. The twins' ability to manipulate their bodies in ways that are graceful and otherworldly really helps sell them as extraterrestrials and is fun to watch.

So if Thompson in a suit or Hemsworth shirtless weren't enough motivation, here's another reason to go see it. If you look close, you can see them in the trailer below.

MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL - Official Trailer www.youtube.com

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Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

"I am honored to share this bonding experience with my own daughter"

In a heart-warming Instagram photo, Serena Williams shares the history of hair braiding and the importance of the tradition. The tennis player shared a photo of herself braiding her daughter Olympia Ohanian's hair and spoke about how "honored" she was to be able to "add another generation" to the tradition of the practice.

The photo shows Williams attentively braiding her daughter's hair while Olympia smiles, obviously loving the experience. Williams noted that hair braiding was created by the Himba people in Namibia, Africa, and that "we have been braiding our hair for centuries." "In many African tribes braided hairstyles were a unique way to identify each tribe," she continued.

Williams pointed out that braiding is a bonding experience. "People would often take the time to socialize," she wrote. "It began with the elders braiding their children, then the children would watch and learn from them. The tradition of bonding was carried on for generations, and quickly made its way across the world."

Williams closed her post with a sweet message about her daughter, saying that she's "honored to share this bonding experience" with her.

See the post, below.

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