On a trip to India last year, I saw this bag in a shopping centre. I liked it immediately. The streamlined form, the black and orange stripe and the fact that it comes from a brand I like. The brand is called Superdry and the shoulder bag has the abbreviation SD written on it.
On my return to Sweden, I realised a terrible thing. The initials SD have a different meaning here, one I didn’t even think of when in India. So typical. SD is the abbreviation for Sweden’s right wing populist party Sweden Democrats – a party with their roots in nazism. I was horrified to realise I could be seen as a walking advertisement for this party, a party not in line with my personal political views. But I decided – hell no! They’re not going to appropriate those initials and my bag!
The next day on the underground, I traveled to work, bag on shoulder. Two Swedish women behind me started discussing my bag. They were displeased that I had a Sweden democrat bag. Turning to them, I explained that they were wrong, the initials are Superdry and they apologised. But it stung.
Isn’t it interesting how our association with things and our preconceived ideas form our opinions? Without question, we presume to understand what something means. Often we are wrong and yet we we are so quick to judge.
If we just took that extra moment to check our assumptions, I’m convinced we’d have a more tolerant and open society.