Sunday, September 12, 2010

The blue and the gray: The suit as universal currency

Take a second or two and look at the suits. Where do you think this photo was taken? Perhaps you're thinking downtown Los Angeles in the Fashion District or maybe the Garment District in NYC.

User design expert Jan Chipchase took this photo of a makeshift suit display in a local marketplace in the city of Kashi (Kaxgar). Kashi is located in the western province of Xinjiang, China. As a practitioner of user design and user experience, Chipchase is interested in the context of things and the conspicuousness of small, local differences. Hence he points out the use of bags which not only protect the suits but provide advertising.

But from our perspective what's interesting is the utter universality of the modern, Western two-piece suit, particularly in solid blue and gray. There's nothing more recognizably standard than a three or three button business suit in those two colors, whether you are in far western China or in midtown Manhattan.

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