Suits for Wall Street

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Subversive Business Outfits as Tactical Camouflage

On October 15, 2011, we delivered 150 suits to Occupy Wall Street. We wanted to shift the conversation from what people were wearing to what people are saying. We hoped that the suits would be used tactically, as tools to create mediagenic images — or simply to spiff up Liberty Square.

It worked.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to have my message heard,” said one occupier. “And if that means I have to put on a suit, I’ll do it.”

“Businessmen only listen to people dressed like businessmen,” said another.

Suited up, some occupiers headed into that day’s anti-war march. Some went back into the park, looking sharp. One guy asked someone out on a date. Another mentioned that she might go look for a job.

A couple of protesters set out for smaller direct actions that would create a viral impact on the news the following week, including one at Citibank that would earn 1 million hits in the first few days.

To be clear, we don’t take credit for these actions. They’re often better than what we would have done in our own suits. What we’d like to suggest, though, is that suits made them more effective.

[photo credit & thanks to Maxwell Cohn]