July 2, 2008

As, Uh, Seen On TV! FLDS Polygamist-Made Kidswear

It's a familiar story by now, actually like five familiar stories:

  • Parents objecting to the Wal-Martification of American culture: clothing's either racy and inappropriate or loaded down with characters owned by giant corporations. Plus, it's all made in giant factories in China, or by kids in India.
  • Parents not finding any simple, pared down kids clothing they like end up designing and making it themselves. They get some publicity, other people take notice, and suddenly they're running a business.
  • A resurgence of appreciation for craft and homemade goods coincides with the global reach and efficiency of the Internet, and suddenly, small, independent businesses are competing with the big boys.
  • Moms in rural areas band together to create a business that lets them work at home, raise their kids, stay off welfare, and provide for their families.
  • Over-zealous state police and social workers raid a polygamist compound in BF Texas, take 440 children into custody only to find that, in addition to not having any legal grounds for their actions, there's nowhere to buy the modest, homespun clothing the kids' religious beliefs call for, so they end up buying it from a pop-up business created by the very moms whose kids were seized. "This is not about Wal-Mart quality," says FLDS Dress co-founder Mary Jessop. "The clothes are washable, durable and children proof."

    flds_product_placement.jpg

    Ultimately, my objection isn't to the polygamist sect's beliefs--even though I see their theology as a woefully distorted, manipulative misinterpretation of my own, it's also an expression of exactly the kind of crazy, into-the-wilderness, "I know, we'll start a religion!" freedom that makes this country great.

    flds_dress_screenshot.jpg

    No, my problem is much more worldly. Apparently, you can take the kid out of the polygamist compound in taste-challenged rural America, but you can't take the taste-challenged rural America out of the polygamist's kid. Almost all the childrens clothing in the FLDS Dress online shop is either polyester or some blend, and it's all these freakin' pastels, plus olive and grey. Very odd.

    If I'm gonna dress my kid in someone else's religiously inspired outfits, I'll stick to the Amish. That little kid in Witness was so cute!

    FLDS Dress: "quality, handmade, modest, affordable clothing. Each piece is made [in the USA!] with joy and care" [fldsdress.com]
    FLDS fashions for kids sold on enterprising Web site [sltrib via ksl.com]

    Media bias bonus: Whatever your take on the FLDS Church, this is awesomely offensive journalism, never mind it's from a TV station owned by the LDS Church: "Each piece of clothing is purported to be made with joy and care. Critics call the clothing a brain-washing tool." [ksl.com]

  • 8 Comments

    It's curious they've settled on Little House on the Prairie as a look. Are there European fundamentalist religions that gravitate toward Victorian hoop skirts?

    [or old dirndls and those hats with shaving brushes on them? I think Europe exported most of their indigenous religious oddities to the US. These folks don't have TV, so I'd bet they got their look from old b&w photos of 19th c. polygamists. -ed.]

    will they also be selling hairstyle guides? That is what we are most interested in.

    [I think it's just a Topsy Tail. -ed.]

    If they could just get this line in RED it would be Paris Haute Couture!

    Add the emblazoned gilded "A" on the bustline and I'd buy the entire wardrobe for my "Have Yourself A Sombre Christmas" Show this Fall.

    [seriously, I wonder if you could send them your own fabric? -ed.]

    For all your Amish-related clothes shopping needs, I direct your attention to Yoder's:

    http://www.yoderdepartmentstore.com/

    Hmmm. Apparently they have a special on Hannah
    Montana Crocs™. I am not making this up.

    I'm sorry, but I couldn't resist responding to the Yoder Dept Store comment (in between my giggles). The store is not OWNED by the Amish, although many of them shop there. Guess what else? Their favorite store for shopping is WAL MART !!! And there's nothing like a good rented van-load trip to the nearest SAMS Club to stock-up on everyday items.

    Shockingly enough, the Amish and other misunderstood plain groups are just as normal as anyone else (with the exception of cults like the FLDS, of course). We constantly receive email and phone inquiries asking where to find "Amish shoes" and "Amish underwear." *grin* Of course our customers are very serious, so we treat them professionally, but our standard answer is the suggestion to drive to their nearest Wal Mart and find any style of practical shoe.....sneaker, boot, dress, hiking, casual, etc....... in BLACK, and to find the best sales in the undergarments sections to find "good Amish shoes and undergarments." *grin*

    Yup, they're just as normal as the rest of us. They buy their toothpaste and deoderant and shampoo from the same places we do. Oh...... and nothing is more interesting then visiting the local hard-ware store in Amish country to listen to the men stand around and discuss the latest sports scores.

    Yes, they really ARE normal, every-day folks just like us in more ways than most folks realize. :)

    Just had to share. :)
    Blessings,
    Kimberly
    www.plainlydressed.com

    hmm, Just as propaganda is always what the other guy is saying, a "cult" is always someone else's religion, not one's own.

    For lack of a better word, the Amish brand occupies a very high, somewhat romanticized place in many American minds; handmade, simple, authentic, modest, natural, "Amish [insert product here]" is the antithesis of Wal-Mart, whatever the Amish reality. And of course, that image usually doesn't include many of the stark cultural differences--on education; the status, roles, and treatment of women; the use of corporal punishment; just to name a few--between the Amish and mainstream America.

    Ever since I began posting about religiously themed kids clothing, I've been amused by the very idea of just plopping some outfit on your kid just because you think it's cute, never mind the theological or cultural context from which it came, or the signals and implications associated with it. Like wearing t-shirts with Japanese kanji on them without knowing what the characters actually say, there's a potential for ridiculousness, if not outright embarrassment.

    All that said, I'm glad to have found plainlydressed.com, if for no other reason than that your fabrics seem so much better. Glad to see you haven't been brainwashed by the polyester blend cultists ;)

    The FLDS - sounds like the Taliban is alive and kicking in North America. We do not have to go to Afghanistan to fight for the freedoms of women and children. We should be fighting for them here in the US, Canada and Mexico. I really thought slavery had been outlawed but evidently I am very wrong. It is criminal to brainwash people from the time they are born and to enslave them. Where is the government????

    "where is the government????" Getting its legal ass handed to it on a plate by the courts, frankly. If the FLDS folks have committed crimes, they should be held accountable. But they're not seeking to impose their religious views on anyone, much less enforcing them by violence and death like the Taliban does. And I don't know if I want the government deciding whose religious views are brainwashing and slavery and whose aren't. Actually I do know; it's a dangerous mistake and a horrible idea.

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