Writing is a solitary business. Everyone knows that. In fact, even when I write for publication, I can't help but to wonder if anyone's reading. Turns out, when I worked for the El Paso Times in West Texas, someone was reading--Susan Faludi!
Yes, you read that correctly. I found out this afternoon that the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Backlash cited one of my articles in the Terror Dream, her latest book. I've yet to read it, but, from what I can surmise, the book examines how the events of 9/11 reshaped America culturally, particularly with regard to women.
The article she referenced of mine is called "Army Gear." A short, quirky piece with lines that make me cringe, "Army Gear" explores the connection between fashion and war.
Apparently, Faludi devotes an entire section of her book to pop culture and terror, and my article, which came out March 26, 2003, is mentioned there. Read it in full below, if you like.
For years, camouflage, combat boots and more have drifted in and out of designer collections. With the war in Iraq, military-inspired pieces are becoming more in demand.
Just hours before the United States would strike Iraq March 19, the Guess online store sold out of its cargo cadet pants.
At the Guess store in Cielo Vista Mall, sales representative Mariaelena Delgado said she suspected the war might draw people to military fashions.
This was the case with Gulf War veteran and Eastsider Ron Groves. While demonstrating to show his support for American troops, Groves donned a military jacket he had last worn while leaving Saudi Arabia 13 years ago.
Groves said he disapproves of people who never served in the Armed Forces wearing military apparel but does not object to military-inspired outfits, noting that there are some “pretty camouflage” designs available.
With her DKNY line, available at Dillard’s, designer Donna Karan is taking military chic to new heights. Check out Karan’s combat dress, a cotton twill strapless concoction that a bold high-school girl might wear to prom. The DKNY line also includes a combat-washed crepe jacket and a combat-shrunken jacket.
With its men’s canvas messenger bag, Old Navy is peddling military chic to guys. “Military surplus-style for your action-packed days!” Old Navy says of the bag on its Web site. In addition to a flap and numerous pockets, the bag comes “with army-style numbers and letters and metallic dog tag on adjustable strap.”
Of course, people in search of authentic military gear can shop at Army-surplus stores like Eagle Military, where owner Ron Williams said that basic brown T-shirts have sold out in the past few weeks. Also popular have been boonie hats, desert fatigues, desert boots, khakis, duct tape and gas masks.
El Paso Community College student Esmeralda Rodriguez said that she has seen a few people wearing camouflage and “pants with a lot of pockets and zippers.” As the war progresses, she expects to see more people doing so.
But Alonso Torres demonstrates that sometimes fashion is more about convenience than making a statement.
Asked why he recently wore a camouflage jacket, Torres explained, “I thought it would rain and this (jacket) has a hood.”