Vancouver BC: Fashion labels blacklisted by clubs
Perhaps Parking Lots will start a ban on vehicles bearing Harley Davidson Tags, such as Ford Trucks Harley Davidson Edition, P. Diddy Hummers and Chrome Spinners on wheels popular with Rappers. What's next? Who knows, maybe heavy gold and silver jewelry? Yep, PC Insanity lives here, in Vangroovy BC.
Downtown bars are turning people away because they're wearing brands of clothing that are being identified as gangster-wear.
The crackdown on couture began about three weeks ago, according to Vancouver club-hoppers and clothing-store owners.
That's about the time several gang-related shootings occurred in Metro Vancouver.
Jackson Dembroski was told by bouncers that he couldn't enter a club wearing this shirt. He says the club's fashion police bounced him because they said he was dressed in gangster attire.View Larger Image View Larger Image
Jackson Dembroski was told by bouncers that he couldn't enter a club wearing this shirt. He says the club's fashion police bounced him because they said he was dressed in gangster attire.
In early September, two people were injured in gunfire at Quattro on Fourth restaurant, the same night six shots were fired into an east Vancouver home. And on Sept. 11, a Langley man with Hells Angels connections was shot while driving his son to school.
Since then, bars along the Granville entertainment strip have begun focusing on what their customers are wearing.
This is just one line of defence against gangs, said John Teti, president of BarWatch, a group that represents Vancouver bars.
"Do you risk putting your customers' safety in jeopardy because you've chosen to let somebody in wearing that kind of clothing?" Teti said.
Clubs are being stricter because they want to protect law-abiding customers, he said.
"Nobody wants to see somebody get hurt within their club. It's about public safety," said Teti, adding that gangs are a big problem in the Lower Mainland.
"If you're just a pretender or a wannabe and you pretend to be a gangster, then I guess you're going to suffer the indignation of being treated like one."
But none of this makes sense to Jackson Dembroski, 24, who has experienced the frustration of fashion policing first-hand.
Last Saturday night, staff at Crush on Granville Street told him he wasn't allowed inside wearing his Ed Hardy shirt, he said. He had to turn the shirt inside-out to hide the design.
Three weeks earlier, he said, he was asked to leave Caprice on Granville Street for wearing a shirt by Affliction -- a U.S. brand popular with celebrities like Paris Hilton and Ozzy Osborne.
Since then, Dembroski said, he's learned that The Modern and Republic clubs are also banning the brands. Other clubs may follow suit, he said.
"Their excuse is that it's gang-related attire or only drug dealers can afford those shirts," said Dembroski, who works in Langley building race cars. "It makes me feel like now I have to watch what I wear."
Blacklisted brands include his favourite labels like Ed Hardy, Affliction and Xtreme Couture, he said. All of these use trendy motifs like tattoos, skulls and chains.
Vancouver bars aren't the first to ban brands. In England, some pubs banned the luxury British label Burberry, which is popular with soccer hooligans.
It seems like stereotyping, said Ben Valmonte, 26, a store manager at Below The Belt on Robson Street. He's aware the brands are under local fire, he said, and he's surprised. All these labels are hip, popular and expensive -- ranging from $50 to more than $250 for a shirt.
"I've just heard that you're not allowed to wear certain brands to clubs because they're considered gangster-wear," said Valmonte.
"I don't know why it's considered gangster-wear."
Erin McMahon, 27, manager for Adrenaline in Kitsilano, said she began hearing about the ban from customers about three weeks ago. The store carries Affliction, one of the labels being labeled gangster by clubs.