When it comes to style, I’m just playing ketchup – Winnipeg Free Press


Regular readers won’t be surprised to know that I’ve been a self-proclaimed slob for most of my life.

In fact, when it comes to haute couture, I’m essentially the human equivalent of an unmade bed.

Like many slutty guys of my certain sex, I thought I’d be at the height of fashion if all the spice stains on my golf shirts were roughly the same color.

But brace yourself for a shock, stylish readers, because it turns out I’ve been literally on the pulse the whole time, a style guru clearly ahead of his time.

I made this shocking discovery the other day when I stumbled across news reports trumpeting the fact that the fine folks at Heinz – yes, the famous makers of shirt-destroying ketchup – were launching a new line of second-hand clothing namely (dramatic pause) intentionally precolored with ketchup.

According to a number of news reports, Heinz has teamed up with a vintage clothing brand to release shirts intentionally ketchup-stained. Their Vintage Drip Collection features second-hand clothing in partnership with thredUP, an online resale platform.

The pre-stained collection features 157 second-hand streetwear and designer pieces, each with a unique ketchup stain — “because if it’s Heinz, it’s not a stain, it’s a statement,” gushed a press release from the companies.

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That means fashion connoisseurs like me no longer have to go through all the hassle of buying ketchup and mustard and staining their own clothes. The forward-thinking people at Heinz and thredUP chose to do this for us.

As a seasoned journalist and reader of magazines that feature photos of people in stylish clothes, I’m aware that the notion of intentionally wearing stained old clothes tends to divide readers along gender lines.

My wife’s reaction: “Eww! That’s disgusting!”

My reaction: “Cute! Now you know what I want for my birthday.”

Here’s what Alyssa Cicero, brand manager at Heinz, said in a statement about the stylishly colored duds: “While Heinz is known worldwide for its iconic glass bottle, capstone and slow-flow ketchup, we saw an opportunity to see the stain, we’ve moved away from clothing as another iconic brand symbol, taking the narrative from a stain to a statement.”

Proceeds from this new online fashion venture will be used to support global hunger relief efforts, and the companies are confident it will be a huge hit with consumers much younger than this aging columnist.

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“At threadUP, we believe every piece of clothing deserves a second life — even victims of summer cookouts,” Erin Wallace, thredUP’s vice president of integrated marketing, told media. “We are thrilled to be collaborating with an iconic brand like Heinz to create the first-ever line of ketchup-infested second-hand clothing that celebrates reuse. This collection offers fashion risk-takers and foodies alike a unique opportunity to participate in the circular economy while doing good for people and the planet.”

I’m no marketer, but I think what they’re saying is that they’re hoping to take advantage of the fact that Millennials and Gen Z(a) people are willing to buy almost anything if someone tells them it’s hot do; and (b) too (bad word) lazy to stain their own clothes.

But I don’t want to take a negative tone today because I’ve spent a few seconds thinking about Heinz’s foray into fashion and I personally think it’s a brilliant idea.

Like most guys I know, every shirt has—and I’m not joking about it—at least one spice stain. Even after washing my shirts multiple times, these stains still leave permanent grease stains that make the following fashion statement: “No one ever taught me how to eat with a fork!”

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Not only are my shirts adorned with ketchup, mustard, and barbecue sauce stains, but when I press them, I can provide detailed information about the origin of each individual grease stain.

“This particular stain is one of my favorites,” I usually tell someone at a classy party. “I got this at a Gray Cup party in 2011 when I was trying to set the chicken wing eating record in the first quarter.”

But brace yourself for a stylish shock because I’ve decided it’s time to part with my entire collection of spice-stained clothing.

I plan to set up a small booth at the end of my driveway to sell ketchup-stained t-shirts, torn, mustard-stained jeans, and other clothing defaced with everything from salsa to ranch dressing.

My wife thinks it’s a pretty stupid thing to do, but I’m pretty sure that’s how Ralph Lauren started it.

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Doug Speirs

Doug Speirs

Doug has had just about every job at the paper — reporter, city editor, night editor, tour guide, hand model — and his peers are confident he’ll eventually find something he’s good at.

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