Sur le Plat Gousset, Granville, ethnographie

20 septembre 2016,

imagespar Dick Howe
Comme chaque année, notre correspondant ethnographe anglophone à Granville a étudié les tendances de l’été sur les t shirts qui défilent sur la célèbre promenade granvillaise.
The weather was sunny this August on the Plat-Gousset and the fashionistas met the challenge with enthusiasm and pride.
The good weather may have stimulated T-shirted statements of philosophy. For example, “Humans Are Not Cool,” “No Risk No Gain,” “To Feel Is To Believe,” “Love,” “Happiness” (followed by a lengthy footnote I couldn’t possibly read), “Poison Love” (with skull and crossbones), and “Nice Guys Finish Last.”
Perhaps most noticeable was a trend toward commercialization, with a surge in advertisements:  “Enjoy Coca-Cola,” “Drink Coca-Cola,” “Sprite,” “Levi’s Original 1985 San Francisco,” “Gap,” “Calvin” (presumably a fashion reference to Calvin Klein, not a religious statement), “Jimmy’s Seaside Surf Shack,” “Original Clothing Company,” “QuikSilver Made to Last,” “Fly Emirates,” even “Cape Cod Boat Rentals South Harbor New England.”
There were a number of sincere requests:  “Don’t Stop Start Now,” “Wake Me Up When It’s Friday,” “Make It Classic,” “Make It Happen,” “As We Are,” “Let’s Have Fun” “Love Me Now,” “Let’s Run Away,” with a girl offering a possible response, simply “No Thanks.” However, another girl hints, “I Got My Eves On You.” And another hints, “You Make Me Happy.” And still another, “Don’t You Think I’m Pretty?” And still another, “I (heart symbol) You.”  Those girls should introduce themselves to a Plat-Gousset stroller whose T-shirt proclaimed him a “Serial revoL” (sic).
The annual geographic breakdown shows New York still on top, now dominating baseball caps

with “NY” (usually Yankees style), “NYC” or even “New York City” spelled out around the sides. Some T-shirt references were more specific: “New York 1985,” “Official Factory New York,” “Times Square NY Aeropostale,” “It’s Up To You New York New York,” “NYPD,” “Kaporal Jeans NYC State,”  “Hollister New York City,” “Original SuperDry New York,” “A&Fitch Est 1910 New York,” and “Zadig Rocks New York.”
Coming up fast, however, was California:  “Los Angeles City of Dreams Summer Delight,”  “Feeling California,” “Palm Springs Holiday,” “San Francisco Levi’s California,”  “Freedom LA Los Angeles,” and simply “LA.” Other geographic scores were “Boston 98 All Stars,” “Jack & Jones Miami,” “Hilfiger Great Lakes Wisconsin,” “Key West Florida” and “Infinity City.”
Sad to say, Brooklyn has yet to realize its hipster potential on the Plat-Gousset. Only two references this year:  “Brooklyn Guaranteed” and  “Broo Kl Yn.”
Again, there was self-analysis:  “I am REAL so I’m Not Perfect,”  “Just Chic,”  “Bored,” “Danger,” “Wiped Out,” “Sweet,” and “I Will Make Better Mistakes Tomorrow.”  Plus expressions of enthusiasm:  “It’s Summer!,” “Stupendous Adventure 1999,” “My Papa Got a Brand New Box” (teen-ager), “Shoes!,” “Great!” and “Bloomy Day!” with flower illustration.
Kids’ T-shirts were pretty typical: “Super Speedy,” “1976 Seamonster,”  picture of Snoopy, Superman insignia, illustrations of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, “Fun,” “Selfie,” and “Urban Surfer.” No Spiderman or Wonder Woman this year.
Blue jeans were clearly in focus, for example with “Kaporal Jeans Original Clothing Company,” “Levi’s,” “Denim Denim Denim, Denim,” “Raw Denim 1987” in addition to those mentioned above.
Institutions of higher learning scored only minor interest with, for example, “City Original US State College” with university-type seal and “University League” with university-type seal.  Academia has gone downhill since the heyday of the celebrated Pennsylvania college “Franklin & Marshall.” Not even a single “Franklin” or “Marshall” this year. I spotted just one reference, apparent only in the double “ll” spelling, in the form of a statement on a man’s shorts declaring “Official US Marshall.”
Athletics scored well again, with “Official US Team Last Period,’ “Best Crew,” “Select Few Rowing Team Phoenix AZ,” “Chicago Bulls NBA Pure Beef,” “Federal 1989 Athletics,” “Grand Slam” with the illustration of a bear playing tennis, and “Racing Car (US flag) 48 Original.” I should add that patriotic illustrations of the U.S. flag were limited this year, for example, to soaring above the words “America Highway.”
As usual, a few of the statements were difficult to categorize – for example, “Bisons Hunt Creeks,” “Every Thing,” “1832,” “1985,” “22,” (along with other solitary numbers) and “Bench.” There was also a T-shirt with just the outline of a rectangle containing the words “No Image.”
In passing, I should note that I spotted elsewhere in Granville (rue Lecampion) a man with a T-shirt that said simply “Granville.” I couldn’t imagine that he would have the bad taste to wear that shirt strolling along on the Plat-Gousset. I’m happy to report that I never spotted him there.
So there’s our annual report on Plat-Gousset fashions.  I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.