OWS Costume Dept
taken from “Free Wardrobe Love Means”
THE COPS have been monitoring the protesters at Zuccotti Park — maybe the fashion police should, too.
The wardrobe of the Occupy Wall Street movement has taken on an eclectic life of its own as hand-me-down duds continue to pour into the encampment.
A “comfort” station at the park now resembles the shelves of a well-stocked New York thrift store, and demonstrators can take as they please.
And as the cold weather kicks in and layers become a necessity, the park dwellers have turned the downtown pavilion into a catwalk show featuring a colorful mishmash of outdated styles, ill-fitting jackets and misshapen sweaters.
On a recent afternoon, a man walked through the rows of tents wearing an Occupy Wall Street donated pair of beige workman’s overalls and long-sleeved white T-shirt, as if he had just stepped off a construction site.
Another man stood a few feet away decked out in shocking pink gloves, and a long women’s tweed winter coat.
“I wanted this coat when I saw it — it’s cool and it’s long,” explained Jayson Harrison, 24, from the East Village, who said he had arrived at Zuccotti Park three weeks ago without a jacket or a sweater and helped himself.
“And I wanted a hat because it’s cold,” he added, motioning to the faux fur Russian chapeau on his head. “I’m not worried about fashion.”
The comfort committee — responsible for keeping people clothed, sheltered and warm — relies on the generosity of well-wishers who drop off dozens of bags of items each day.
Protesters are free to browse the rails and take their pick, and as the selection of clothes grows, some demonstrators are even getting picky.
“Sometimes people send me back for a different style of pants, or say they want corduroys or sweats,” said comfort team mem-
ber Shazz Baric, 29, a writer who flew from Los Angeles to become part of Occupy Wall Street.
“I guess it’s human nature to feel a sense of entitlement . . . but for some people, how many times have they been allowed to have this sort of choice?”
A 20-year-old protester from Michigan, who goes by the name Scott, heads to the comfort station every morning to choose a new outfit for the day — and drops off the clothes he wore the day before.
“I can dress however I feel like that day. It’s great,” he explained, wearing a purple scarf, a long, gray wool coat, a camouflage hat and jeans. “I’m not limited to the same clothes in my dressing room again and again . . . and I have a different hat every day.”
Since arriving in the Financial District more than a month ago, Scott has worn a Burberry jacket, pinstriped beige pants, a bright green shirt and an array of hats. He also sees people walking around the camp in his old clothes, after sending them to the Occupy Wall Street laundry and donating them to the communal pile.
“I like it,” he said. “It’s fair; it’s open.”
“And I don’t have to do my own laundry — I just take back my dirty or wet clothes, and I exchange them.”