The tin foil hat is so 2012, and any proper conspiracy theorist is looking for the next big thing. Well, for flat-earthers that don’t want to keep their fashion sense a government secret: there are brands like Birds Aren’t Real, the ‘activist’ brand that uses merchandise to raise money to fight automated government drones disguised as birds.
Jokes aside, Birds Aren’t Real is a comedic and fashion forward that comments on tropes of conspiracy theories, activism merchandise (a la Save the Bees shirts), and Instagram virality. The company builds a world around its products, with ‘informational videos’ and an almost believable level of conviction. To wear their shirt is to suspend one’s disbelief just enough to partake in the absurdist world view it champions. It’s harmless fun, sure, but it certainly also speaks to cultural moments of post-truth politics, millennial click-tivism, aggressive social media marketing, and fast fashion, and manages to combine them all into a gestalt of viral fashion.