by Omatic Design

ONE OF THE more interesting things about freelancing in Portland is considering the shoes you wear. We have Nike, we have adidas (lowercase initial “a” always, thankyouverymuch), we have KEEN (all caps, ditto). We also have a myriad of other apparel companies, some of them direct competitors, some not. It’s truly an amazing concentration of wearable brands in our modest burg.

But when being invited to their respective places of business, one must always in turn be respectful of his or her business host. My first visit to the Nike campus involved me walking across what seemed like miles of awkward concrete blocks in notoriously cool looking but uncooperative Converse Chuck Taylors, a brand owned by Nike and a Hail Mary on my part. I had scrambled at the last minute to get my uniform in order after realizing I was bereft of proper branded attire. I also had shin splints by the time I got to the meeting. But I did the right thing.

Much like you don’t swear in school, do speak quietly in the library, don’t fart in church and very much do not wear a mink stole to a PETA event you always are honor-bound to wear apparel that is either of the visited company’s brand or “neutral”, as in a brand that doesn’t present a mobile conflict of interest. For instance I could wear a dapper Saville Row suit to a meeting at adidas. They would think I was a monkey’s butt but no offense would be taken.

There is no illusion that people who work at or for these establishments don’t have a pair of noxiously anti-whatever-company shoes in the closet. This is however a matter of protocol and politeness. It is the Law of the Brand.