How Police uniforms Are Getting Scarier, Too
By Tim Forster
After September 11, the changes kept coming: body armor became part of the everyday attire for the vast majority of American police departments, a bulky item that makes almost any body type seem larger and more intimidating.
Andrew Groves, professor of fashion design at the University of Westminster, says that this kind of uniform is “designed for conflict.”
“Those uniforms are very much confrontational, they escalate [situations]…it’s like, well, I came out to protest and you’re dressed for a riot.”
If police departments are sticking around (although there’s plenty of good arguments to say they shouldn’t), it seems obvious that beyond losing their military weapons, they need to change their look. Groves has one idea for where to look for a new uniform — although it’s almost certainly one that plenty of police would hate.
“I would look at service industries. I’d look at airlines, I’d look at fast food industries, I’d look at Starbucks — [those uniforms] are friendly, on the same level, and helpful…they’re there to serve,” he says. “When the police stop looking like us, they stop being us, they become this other entity — it becomes a ‘them and us,’ that’s where the problem is.”