22 February 2017

New York Fashion Week takes a stand

The Trump administration has rocked America in weeks following President Donald Trump's inauguration with executive orders made based on discrimination. The people are fed up!  So instead of focusing on the uncertainty in the fashion industry alone, this round of New York Fashion week (February 9th to 16th 2017) saw more of the American fashion industry than in previous seasons using their platforms to acknowledge and protest against the current political climate.
The tone was set just prior to NYFW as the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) unveiled their collaboration with Planned Parenthood, a non-profit organization that provides reproductive health services to millions of Americans who the government want to defund. The collaboration comes in the form of a special pin to raise awareness and funds for the cause. The pins designed by The Creative Group were distributed to participating designers, modelling agencies and other key players attending fashion week.
The go-to form of protest for most designers (probably because it's the most straight-forward) were statement t-shirts, sweaters and caps sporting clever phrases to communicate the designer and future wearers defiance. Designers from Prabal Gurung to Public School sent pieces down the runway with slogans expressing their disapproval of the Trump administration's sexism, racism, xenophobia and of course Trump himself.
Other designers were more subtle in their defiance by utilizing the soundtracks to their runway shows to get their message across instead of the clothes themselves. During his debut official collection for Calvin Klein which referenced American igonography, Raf Simons had them play David Bowie's "This Is Not America. Another designer who went this route was Naeem Khan who closed his show with a lone gold sequined bridal gown walking to a poem by Maya Angelou titled "Human Family".
Influential publication, Business of Fashion, is currently their own social media campaign for fashion month aiming to promote inclusivity, diversity and unity. #TiedTogether asks designers, models, photographers, interns and everyone else attending and participating this month's fashion shows and events to wear white bandanas in some way or the other as a "sign to the world that we believe in unity and inclusivity for all humankind." Tommy Hilfiger sent all the models in his show down the runway with a white bandana and Calvin Klein attendees received white bandanas and were instructed to wear them during the show as part of the campaign.

Only time will tell but hopefully this wave of political awareness does not come to an end with a changing of seasons and this becomes a regular occurrence for American designers and the industry as a whole who are notorious for turning a blind eye to such issues.
Red Mosiane