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How American Flag Clothing Began

There is no denying the overwhelming popularity of American flag clothing. From summer apparel to winter gear, there is a flag style for every season and sense of style. While you may be familiar with this timeless style staple, there are still some questions about how American flag clothing began. Let's take a look at the unique journey of the flag from a simple flag to style icon.

When looking at how American flag clothing began, you have to first understand a few things about the red, white, and blue in its earliest history. The American flag's popularity has always been tied to major conflicts or turning points in the history of our nation. For starters, the American flag wasn't a common item until the Civil War. While the American flag was adopted in 1776 and underwent several changes over the years, the flag was usually only seen at sanctioned locations such as military or official government buildings. It wasn't until the Civil War that civilians started flying the American flag on their own property which would change the power of this emblem and help spread its popularity. As soon as the Civil War started, the flag was instantly flown in every imaginable location in the north to symbolize a desire for unity rather than separation of the Union. After the war ended, businesses even started using the flag as a marketing ploy to sell their products as living up to the American spirit. From there, the idea of the American Dream took over for decades until the flag itself was synonymous with opportunity and success as well as a set of patriotic ideals to unify our nation. While the flag was a more common sight from the rest of the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, it would see a resurgence in popularity and reach new product types in the 1970s.

The 1970s in America was a turbulent time full of mixed emotions and growing patriotism. This was a decade that saw the first flag lapel pins worn by political candidates, a turbulent war in Vietnam which both somehow united and divided Americans in a similar way to the Civil War, and the hippie movement which was driving fashion forward in bold ways. The flag was worn as a t-shirt in this decade with some wearing it to show ardent patriotism by some or mockery from anti-war believers. Once the flag was placed on a t-shirt, it changed the history of fashion and the concept of flag clothing was born.

While the flag would be slowly growing as a fashionable way to add patriotism to clothing, it became more prominent in the 1990s when a renewed sense of a patriotism was on the rise in the fashion world. While the American flag as clothing always came and went in waves of popularity, the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 made the flag a constant in American fashion and culture when the nation experienced a renewed sense of patriotism. Since then, flag apparel has remained a constant choice on the market with no signs of slowing down.