Canada’s Prime Minster has found a new way of sending powerful messages at important international summits and conferences as well as at domestic events; his socks. A recent New York Times op-ed by Vanessa Friedman calls it Trudeau’s “Sock Diplomacy.” Fashion and colours have often been used by politicians to express their views on certain policy issues. Trump’s infamous long red tie for example, may be representative of the Republican Party – or he just doesn’t get fashion. But nonetheless, using your suit, dress or specific colours to promote a political agenda isn’t out of the norm.
Socks on the other hand, is new to the ball park.
You may recall the tense NATO summit of early May when Donald Trump was to meet his NATO counterparts for the first time. After promising in campaign rallies his plan to withdraw from the alliance, as well as his lack of support for NATO’s Article 5, Trump and the United States found itself (for the first time) as the elephant in the room.
Yet Trudeau managed to place himself and Canada in the spot light, primarily because of his socks. Yup, Trudeau flashed NATO leaders with his NATO-themed socks, and Angela Merkel seemed impressed.
NATO isn’t the only time Trudeau used his socks to send a message. Thus far, Canada’s Prime Minister has sported Star Wars themed socks on the International Star Wars Day, Canadian Maple Leaf socks for his first Cabinet Meeting, and most importantly, Trudeau’s recent Pride/Eid fusion socks from Toronto’s Annual Pride Festivities seemed to have sparked an international buzz.
Though they’re just socks, they serve a purpose beyond keeping your feet warm and avoiding sweaty feet. They are sending a message, a message of unity. This year Toronto’s pride festivities coincided with the celebration of Eid for Muslims, and Trudeau didn’t miss the opportunity to display a powerful sock-wave once again. (Get it? Shock wave?)
Will his socks solve world peace? Will his socks bridge the gap between religious groups and the LGBTQ community? Probably not, but hey, the least you can do is try.
Kuddos to you Prime Minister Trudeau, Canada is now a global leader in sock diplomacy.