Fashion as soft power: all candidates looked the same at the London #SGdebate

It isn't just that all candidates at last night's Secretary General debate, organised by Guardian Live, UNA-UK, Future United Nations Development System and the Embassy of Denmark were males. It's also that they all looked the same. Not so much physically but because of their clothing. 

When the three men took the stage, the looked eerily alike, the way men in suits can: dark suit, fair shirt, black socks, black shoes and colourful tie. None of that business about showing your uniqueness through socks for UN hopefuls. 

I am not favouring any candidate based on his fashion choices but after listening to their answers, H.E. Antonio Guterres ended up being my favourite. Guterres was the one in a pink tie, whereas H.E. Vuk Jeremic and H.E. Dr. Igor Luksic opted for blue. In his answers, he came across as the most experienced in the UN arcane, the most thoughtful  in his answers and the best prepared. 

Because the three men dressed the same, the gender homogeneity on stage was even more obvious. You could argue that this meant that we could focus solely on their answers, that they had chosen to speak about their ideas rather than showing their personality through a gimmicky outfit choice. But the UN needs change and radical thought. Through their suits, Guterres, Jeremic and Luksic told me that none of them was the candidate ready to revolutionise the UN.