Brace yourselves: the beast is back for more.
After getting pummeled down by several years of nationwide sales decline and incessant criticism, some commenters were ready to open a bottle of Svedka and toast the final demise of this unholy, twisted bastard lovechild of khaki shorts and a backpack.
Not so fast.
Like the mythical Hydra of legend or the fungus in Gross Matt’s room, hacking off a head only makes the damn thing roar back fiercer than ever.
Sorry haters—the stores know what people want, and they still want cargo shorts, despite their inherent sartorial, well, shortcomings. Cargo shorts made up a whopping 15 percent of all new shorts styles that hit online retailers over the summer months this year, according to new data from trend forecasting firm WGSN. That’s up from 11 percent in 2015, despite sales having taken a dip this year. Yes, shops are actually stocking more cargo shorts than before.
“You can’t deny facts, there are certain retailers that are still heavily backing cargo shorts in the U.S.,” said Sidney Morgan-Petro, a retail analyst at WGSN. “If you can still make money off a product, retailers aren’t going to stop stocking it.”
What the hell is going on here? You probably have a couple questions; I know I do. Let’s try to go through them together:
Who’s Buying These Things?
Obviously, the stores are partly responsible. Ordering more cargos despite a determined effort by the rest of us to drive a dip in sales and kill them off? That’s called resisting progress. But the stores aren’t totally to blame. They, like all of us, are merely slaves to market forces more powerful and all-knowing than any man.
No, the reason cargo shorts are sticking around is because the bottom feeders, those dead last in the slow trickle of new ideas and trends, are also the largest sector of consumers in our society: your parents. Dad jeans, hybrid sedans, The Big Bang Theory, corded tools, and brightly colored sandals: These are all terrible things that exist because they appeal to a widespread and genuinely confused customer base that really just wants to connect to their children.
I almost feel sorry for the poor bastards. They live in a strange and frightening world between analog and digital, where they are beginning to watch everything they once knew and loved disappear into the cloud. To compensate, they buy lots of ridiculous gadgets they don’t need to seem technologically savvy. These machines mix in with the loads of baggage pre-90s society once required them to carry everywhere, which leads to the middle-aged ending up with way too much stuff. This burden necessitates the blasphemous, tumor-like growths protruding from the lower pant leg. While we cringe, the middle-aged rejoice at the extra space to stow their notebook-sized smartphones and old-fashioned wallets bulging with ancient paper that was once used to trade for goods and services.
Your parents are just as much a victim of the culture that created the cargo as you are for having to look at people wearing them.
The pants are also popular among nerds who are looking for a place to put an external battery while playing Pokémon Go, but there’s no saving those people, so let’s move on.
What Can We Do About It?
Good question. I know you’re mad as hell and want to riot. By all means, don’t let me stop you. Any excuse to go loot is a good one.
But for you non-rioters, listen up. According to Bloomberg, the stores with the highest percentage of cargo shorts among their stock are Macy’s, Kohl’s, and H&M (I thought you were better than this, H&M). And if there was any doubt that it’s the middle-aged keeping the cargo alive, the number one retailer for extra pockets in the country is Target, with over 43% of its new short designs being cargo. You barely even need a reason to trash Target, but if you want one, there it is.
We, as a nation, are going to have to band together and make one final stand against these abominations. It’s not enough to make fun of them on the internet; the middle-aged can barely use the internet, and will most likely not see your act of protest. We need to take this fight to the streets. Talk to your parents. Hit them up at the end of summer barbecues, the tailgates, wherever the old may congregate. Explain to them in person how the cargo doesn’t make any sense. If you try to put anything in that side pocket, it just rubs against your leg or weighs down your shorts and is annoying as fuck. Tell them cargo shorts make them look old. The rags will be gone from shelves in a week — trust me.
Look, this isn’t going to be easy. Changing the world never is. But we have to put this animal down before it rallies. Let’s get to work..