New York is What They Mean by “Attack of the Clones”

I was in a sporting goods store in Manhattan’s Flatiron District a few weeks ago, when I spotted a specific brand of jacket. I thought the jacket looked interesting, but not exactly exciting — not a jacket I would wear. But the brand, the make of the coat, it stuck with me.

A day later, I was walking into the gym and I noticed someone had on the jacket. Then, I was on the train, and I noticed someone had on the jacket. Coming out of a store, I noticed someone had on the jacket. The more I looked around, the more I realized — gee, every single person in Manhattan is wearing the same exact thing.

This is not a new revelation. You spend enough time here, you notice it. Everyone looks so unique and interesting at first glance, but after a while they just become another person in haute Americana staring at their phone. It’s like the Whole Foods of fashion.

I am not a particularly fashion forward person myself — I’m okay with a $25 sneakers nobody else would even think to look at — but an eye, that I do have. And I can spot trends, see things that are repetitive, redundant, almost scary, in how they are everywhere. Like this one fucking jacket.

I’m not sure who to blame this on, or if it’s really a problem at all, ultimately. I mean, there are obviously bigger issues to concern ourselves with. At the same time, it is a modern marvel that in an age defined by individuality, by people’s ability to uniquely be themselves — to be whomever they want to be, essentially — we often wind up choosing to be just like everyone else.

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Wrote for the New York Times, New York Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vice, Fader, Vibe, XXL, MTV News, many other places.

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