We recently received a complaint about our current Scottish shirt- no big deal. The subject was a pretty normal remark we at ZAMFORIA are faced with often and we figured we should share the convo…. I love emails like this because it helps me reaffirm what we are doing as a company and a brand.
I have been purchasing your wonderful shirts since before you had a store (first time was at a holiday craft fair in Boston). My daughter has always loved your designs, and your philosophy. We are of mixed Celtic descent. She has your Irish shirt, and I thought I would get the Scottish one since every year we go to the Highland Games, though it would be fun for her to wear there. Until I saw it. Usually your designs are beautiful artworks and so respectful and identifiable with the culture they represent. The concept that you would so disrespect Scotland by using a Native American design “with some plaid in it” is mind boggling to me. I can’t believe that you couldn’t find one single concept of the culture that you could have used (thistles, real tartans, bagpipes, highland dancers, stags, sheep, golf, the various flags………). Why do you hate Scotland so much? None of your other designs are so blatantly disrespectful. You didn’t combine cultures you threw one away, and you knew it just by the way you phrased your description. I am very upset and insulted by this. This isn’t representative of Love at all, just the opposite.
An Angry Scottish Gal
Hola Angry Scottish Gal,
Sorry to hear you’re upset….. but check it out…..
ZAMFORIA’s first priority as a company is to rip down cultural barriers as a means to bring them together, show how similar we all are and find exactly what we all are at heart. We make art and interpret the world. Take one of the ZAM chip bags you have and read the last paragraph on the back:
“It Says Love t-shirts don’t brag about national pride, instead they show us how similar we are. George Carlin once joked that we shouldn’t be proud of things we are born with or into (things like nationality and social class) but instead be proud of what we do in life.”
Since people can buy badges of national pride (t-shirts, etc) at cultural fairs, airports and street carts, we wanted to take a more global perspective. Sometimes, we do revolve art around the “pride thing” but we also play to the “global connection” thing as a means to reiterate our company’s philosophy of a global common bond.
In saying that, I do appreciate your criticism, (good or bad, I love it) but this isn’t the first time nor the last time that we’ll do something like this: taking a language and combining it with a concept not necessarily with an apparent connection to one or more cultures or languages. We want you to look deeper into it.
When I first started designing the Scottish shirt I was playing with more traditional “Scottish” things. Then I happened to see Dances with Wolves and Braveheart within hours of each other. I had wanted to do a Native American design for a long time but until I saw those movies together, did I feel a connection between Native Americans fighting the “white man” and William Wallace fighting English armies. There was a sense of “good triumphing over evil and harm” or even “rooting for the underdog.” Or maybe it was the sense of fighting for what you believe in (Freedom, Home, or Family) and against greed, rape and invasion. Essentially, I felt, that the Indians and Scots were speaking the same language when they fought- it was more than words…… and so came the current Scottish design.
Regardless, if you don’t like the design, we redesign languages all the time. One day, we’ll probably have a more “traditionally” inspired Scottish shirt. Until then, I hope you have a better appreciation for our goal as a company. Stay cool.
Again, thank you.
ps. that was loooong. you read the whole thing? sweet.