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Sexuality and politics signaled through ‘coded clothing’


BDSM emblem dress shirt from ThirdHex Coded Clothing.
 
ThirdHex Coded Clothing, a small fashion startup selling through Etsy, produces snazzy black dress shirts with small embroidered logos, not of its own brand, but of icons representing concepts such as anti-fascism, polyamory, BDSM, and vegetarianism.

Currently, the shop offers only eight designs, which are mostly geared toward the fetish community, left-wing politicos, and gamers. What originally fascinated me about the shop was the concept of “coding” through clothing. American consumers are used to seeing brand logos stitched onto dress shirts, but logos for concepts and fandoms communicate so much more than “I can afford a Chemise Lacoste.”

As a teenager when I was dressing in the absolute punkest way possible, I don’t know if it ever occurred to me that one of the reasons was to signal to other “punks” that I was one of them. It’s remarkable to think back about how I could go to a new town and instantly figure out who was “cool” (or “not cool”) just based on what kinds of t-shirts or shoes they wore. For better or for worse, the t-shirt has become the most common identifier people use to signal “where their heads are at.”

ThirdHex Coded Clothing owner, Christopher Kaminski’s seller-statement on his Etsy page resonated with me as an adult who doesn’t find band t-shirts appropriate wear for every occasion:

At the age of 18, I joined the Air Force and found myself without friends that shared interests. I quickly realized the value of having t-shirts that expressed my interests in topics like 80s goth bands to find like minded friends. Since then I’ve strongly used t-shirts to socially code through every major move but as I entered my 30’s I found my style to be incompatible with t-shirts.

When I moved again in my mid 40’s I found myself completely uninterested in t-shirts but wanted some way to still socially code. ThirdHex Coded Clothing was born out of that need.

I ordered a ThirdHex shirt with the “Antifascist Circle,” based on the symbol of the Iron Front, a few weeks ago. I found the product to be high quality and spiffy-looking when worn.

I talked briefly to ThirdHex owner, Christopher Kaminski about the concept of coded clothing.

Aside from appreciating the crisp aesthetic simplicity of the shirts and logos, what really struck me about your shop was your mission statement, in particular, the use of the word “coding” which really breaks down the intent behind a lot of folks’ fashion choices.

ThirdHex: Look at the people around you, really look. They’re all using accessories, grooming styles, colors, body language and more to passively communicate with you, some do it with more intent than others. This is social coding.  Ever drive behind a car with cool bumper stickers and think that they would be cool people to know? I know I have.

How did you first hatch the concept for the store?

TH: The concept didn’t hatch as a store, it started with personal use. I have a closet of t-shirts that I think I look sloppy in. I wanted to communicate with others in a more fashionable way. After I modified a couple of pieces for myself, I realized I was not the only one that would want this.

My favorites of your designs are the ones related to sexuality and politics, but my guess would be that the “nerdier” gamer designs are a hit. There’s something appealing about being an adult and dressing like an adult but still being able to signal in that way. I like the idea of a 40-year-old wearing a dress shirt with a D20 on it over a tacky XXXL all-over-print t-shirt made for teenagers. 

TH: The wives and partners of men that wear t-shirts all the time seem to agree with your statement. My customers aren’t always the end users of the shirts! More nerdy designs are on their way!

When you came up with this concept, did you envision these shirts being “daily wear” or more for conventions, events, and rallies?

TH: Daily wear, but both of course. It’s easy to find people with similar tastes or ideas at conventions. My designs are intended to help you find your community of people outside of those spaces.

Have you taken any inspiration from “hanky codes”?

TH: Not really, although the ideas are similar. I mostly took inspiration from brand advertising. Brands themselves are coded through advertisements. Advertisements sell an experience and attach a brand to it. Wearing that brand tells other people you like that advertised experience. I am simplifying the communication process and targeting peoples passions.

Finally, are there any plans to add women’s styles or (though I personally have no problem with all black everything) alternate shirt colors? Also, any thoughts on future designs?

TH: I do have a business plan that includes both eventually but add sizes to that mix and you end up with a crazy amount of inventory. It’s going to take some time and a big investment to get there. However, new stitch designs will roll out every month. 

ThirdHex Coded Clothing’s website is at Thirdhex.com.


Anti-fascist circle emblem
 

D20 gamer shirt
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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07.28.2017
09:54 am
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Giant Raven Costume
07.05.2016
09:14 am
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Wow! I really like this giant raven costume by illustrator and video game artist, Rah-Bop. It’s incredibly well-made and the details are impeccable. The costume was designed after Rah-Bop’s D&D character, Rue.

There’s really no additional information about this costume to report that I was able to find. But it’s amazing isn’t it? I wonder how long it took to make?

Hollywood needs to hire this Rah-Bop stat!


 
via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley
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07.05.2016
09:14 am
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For the rich nerd who has everything: 1d20 carved out of woolly mammoth ivory
08.12.2015
10:14 am
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So you own all the manuals and modules and miniatures, yet still your D&D tabletop feels incomplete. Might we suggest one thing that’s sure to make you the coolest dungeon master on the block: a twenty-sided die carved out of real Pleistocene-era woolly mammoth ivory.

Woolly mammoths, huge elephant-related beasts, roamed the earth until disappearing from their mainland range at the end of the Pleistocene era, some 10,000 years ago. From time-to-time, well-preserved specimens of mammoths are discovered in the frozen bogs of the far North. So well-preserved, in fact, that 250,000-year-old woolly mammoth meat was reportedly served at the 47th Annual Explorer’s Club Dinner to a bunch of rich 1950s nerds.

Apparently the Artisan Dice company was able to get their hands on some of of these rare, well-preserved mammoth remains—specifically the tusks. From this (apparently very foul-smelling) ivory they have created a line of twenty-sided-dice for use in the role-playing game of your choice. Though their site doesn’t mention how they were able to obtain such historically significant remains to carve into RPG accessories, we’re taking their word for it that this is the real deal and that there are no preservationist directives banning the repurposing of mammoth ivory.
 

 
According to their site:

Mammoth ivory has some very unique characteristics hiding within its aged and flaky bark. The inner layers polish to an brilliant luster that showcase a wonderful grain in the form of a subtle cross hatch pattern, and distinctively heavy weight along with a crisp sound when rolled as a die. On top of all that, it produces one hell of a stink when worked. It’s by far one of the worst smells in the shop. Enduring that pungent aroma is well worth the results though as mammoth ivory makes some of the best dice on the planet.

The company made a run of two-dozen dice which were presented in an Eastern Aromatic Cedar box with a Black Walnut insert and priced at a meager $248.00 EACH.
 

 
They sold out of this run within 24 hours of making them available.

But never fear wealthy role-playing game and dead mammal enthusiasts, Artisan Dice promises to be preparing a second run and are currently taking pre-orders.

The mammoths didn’t make their saving throw against extinction, but their power and majesty lives on—possibly in your parents’ den—with these exquisite dice.

You know you want a 1d20 from ca. 20k B.C.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Download a Dungeons & Dragons coloring book from 1979
Don’t Mess with My Mind! Christian magician warns children of evil Ouija boards, Dungeons & Dragons
Well-preserved woolly mammoth discovered

Posted by Christopher Bickel
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08.12.2015
10:14 am
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Baptist exorcist explains why playing Dungeons & Dragons will curse your great-grandchildren
04.30.2015
10:43 am
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Dungeons & Dragons was invented in 1974 by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, but it wasn’t until the early 1980s that the legendary table game became a national phenomenon worthy (just like Elvis and the Beatles) of an organized backlash from religious authorities. As would also happen to Harry Potter a generation later, some concerned parents heard the word “spells” and concluded “witchcraft” or “Satan.” Groups like Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons generated fantastic pamphlets like this one. Jack Chick got involved too (see below). Of course there was also the early Tom Hanks TV movie Mazes and Monsters that purported to tell the true tale of the 1979 disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III but got the story totally wrong (Egbert’s D&D experience was limited, and it had nothing to do with his death).

Why it took him so long we’ll never know, but Win Worley, pastor at the Hegewisch Baptist Church in Highland, Indiana, took up the cause in 1992, as seen in this video. It probably wasn’t his main gig, but this article here calls him a “pioneer in exorcism,” a fact confirmed in this eye-popping volume.

You may be expecting the full-on fire/brimstone treatment but Worley here is unexpectedly engaging and likeable. This is the kind of demonizer I can get behind! (Almost.) In the first few seconds Worley is reading from some text and the result is a remarkable word salad that I’ve highlighted in bold below:
 

Satanic salute, and the unicorn, flying horse rainbows. Of course, that’s new age symbols. Enchantments, strategies, potions, spells, Dungeons & Dragons they’ll call games like that. Psychic readings, reincarnations, pyramid, clairvoyance, mental science, false visions, superstitions, talismans, Satanism, karma. These are some of the occult spirits. Now if you’ve dabbled in any of these, then you’re cursed, your children are cursed, your grandchildren are cursed, your great grandchildren are cursed. Now, there’s a way to take care of that, and we’re gonna do that. It’s quite simple, really. There’s—Satan is a legal expert, and as long as he has legal rights to be somewhere, you cannot budge him, I don’t care who you are. You can throw your coat on him or blow on him or whatever, he’s not gonna go anywhere. You’ve got to take away the legal grounds, that’s what we’re doing. Now we’re gonna take away the legal grounds on the occult, if you’ve ever been involved. You say, “Well, I don’t think I’ve never been involved.” Well, your ancestors may have been, so take no chances, let’s renounce it, it’s not gonna hurt you to renounce it. It might hurt you not to.

 
Watch it for yourself, it’s short and ends in a prayer.
 

 
After the jump, a great Chick tract on D&D…....

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.30.2015
10:43 am
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Don’t Mess with My Mind! Christian magician warns children of evil Ouija boards, Dungeons & Dragons
04.01.2015
12:32 pm
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You can fool my eye, but don’t mess with my mind [emphasis added].

Here’s a hilarious short clip from Kids Tricks: It’s a Secret by Danny Kormen. Danny teaches wide-eyed kids about the dangers of Ouija boards and of course, Dungeons & Dragons. I got a good laugh from this.

I found the the show in its entirety for $6 on eBay if you just gotta see the rest of it. (Which I’m pretty sure you don’t.)

 
via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Tara McGinley
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04.01.2015
12:32 pm
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‘60 Minutes’ on Dungeons and Dragons from 1985
02.27.2012
04:46 pm
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Fascinating almost 30-year old 60 Minutes piece that exemplifies the hysteria around Dungeons and Dragons in the ‘80s. Looking at all this with hindsight it seems obvious that the kids who harmed themselves and others were gonna do that anyway. Near the beginning when Ed Bradley shows all the different newspaper articles about the suicides and the violence, it seems so disingenuous and manufactured, like 60 Minutes needed to build up the credibility of their assertion before proceeding, fanning the flames of the controversy as they did so. Still it’s an interesting time capsule moment from 1985.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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02.27.2012
04:46 pm
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James Dallas Egbert III: The Dungeon Master

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When I was about 14, I discovered a copy of “The Dungeon Master: The Disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III” in the local library used-book bin. Noting that it had something to do with Dungeons and Dragons (don’t act smug!), and also noting that it cost about $1, I bought it.

That book stuck with me for a long time.

Egbert, for those who are not versed in their nerd history, was the kid who disappeared in the Michigan State University steam tunnels in 1979, apparently as the result of a live-action Dungeons and Dragons session, provoking a nation-wide scare about the then-new role-playing game that would be unrivaled in sheer stupidity levels until the Satanic Panic…

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Posted by Jason Louv
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08.27.2009
05:02 am
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