You are a person, not an object.

In the brave new world of mass-marketed consumerism, you can purchase all manner of clothing. You have a wide variety of brands from which to chose. Many of those brands are more than happy to sell you clothes with their name on them.

Not your name.

Their name.

Many brands would absolutely love for you to pay them to advertise for them. Who can blame them? If someone is willing to give you something for free, you take it. If people are willing to give a corporation free publicity by being walking billboards for their products, man, that has to be the best thing capitalism has ever dreamed up! Not only are the billboards free, the billboards go out and about and mingle with the target audience!

A walking billboard. That’s what you are when you buy clothing or accessories with brand names blazoned across them: you are being a billboard for someone else. Not only are you not being paid to make money for someone else, you are paying them for you to make money for them.

I am not saying don’t buy clothes from particular stores, though you should generally buy local over corporate. I am saying that you can be so much more than just a vehicle for someone else’s profit machine. These corporate chains may indeed have really cool clothes that look great on you. But a t-shirt that states the name of the company that made it doesn’t make you look cool. It makes you look like a sucker.

The clothes you wear should be an expression of who you are, not an expression of a corporation’s branding. Don’t be a billboard.

Originally published at

Philosophy professor reaching out beyond the ivory tower. I also run and

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