Argentina’s equivalent of Abercrombie is a store called John L Cook. It caters to hot teens dying to lose their virginity and manufactures t-shirts with meaningless identity-defining slogans on them like “Sea Salt” and “Grunge” and “Somewhere Between NY & LA.” They also have a lot of apparel featuring what seems to be the brand’s calling card: the whimsical, aesthetically-pleasing Confederate flag. What.

Al Jazeera reports:

Ramiro Fita, Cook’s founder, first picked up a rebel flag in Baltimore during a stint in the merchant navy, his son Emiliano, the brand’s current president, told me. Ramiro came back to Argentina and met his wife, who made clothes at home. They talked of opening a label together, sensing an appetite in the country for the cultural products of the United States. They picked out the name John L Cook, an American-sounding mantle of mysterious provenance. For its logo, they’d use the old flag from Baltimore.

The couple opened their shop in 1975, and over the coming decades, Cook took off. If Argentines recognized the flag at all, it was as the decal on the car in the popular U.S. TV show “The Dukes of Hazzard,” not as a contentious symbol of racial tensions.

“It’s just the brand’s logo,” Fita told Al Jazeera. “It symbolizes the history of self-improvement and love in the lives of my parents.”

“I like their clothes; I love their shirts; I consider the style fresh and ‘rocker,’” said Irina Bergman, a 14-year-old from Zarate, Argentina. “The quality is good too. It’s good in ever way.”


Contact the author at joanna@jezebel.com.

Image courtesy of John L. Cook.