Here’s How Designers Are Making Political Statements At Fashion Week
From the streets to the runways, New York Fashion Week this season has introduced some of the boldest political messages since the presidential election took place in November. Fashion girls, front-row guests and designers used clothes, props and even music to express thoughts on hot-button issues, including immigration, racial tensions and women’s rights. Here, see how designers have used the runways as venues for their political beliefs, proving that fashion can make more than just a visual statement.
Gigi Hadid and The Business of Fashion editor in chief Imran Amed sported white bandanas at Tommy Hilfiger's Spring 2017 show in Los Angeles to promote the message of solidarity, unity and inclusion (hashtag #TiedTogether).
Creatures of Comfort
Creative director Jade Lai protested xenophobia with a model who wore a long-sleeved shirt that read "We are all human beings." (Fifty percent of the top's proceeds go toward the National Immigration Law Center.)
Mexican-born designer Raul Solis had models wearing backless dresses, revealing underwear emblazoned with the audacious words "F*** your wall" and "No ban, no wall."
Creative director Michelle Smith wrote a memo explaining how the presidential election served as inspiration for her Fall 2017 collection, and guests left the show with sweatshirts printed with "Unbreakable" and "Steinem AF" in honor of feminist leader Gloria Steinem.
Famously political, Public School designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne got models to wear embroidered "Make America New York" caps and tops, supporting the city's values with a twist on President Donald Trump's infamous "Make America Great Again" slogan.
Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin of Tome wore Planned Parenthood and Women's March t-shirts at their Fall 2017 show, which featured models in playful jackets that listed "The Advantages of Being a Woman Artist," with designs by feminist artist group Guerrilla Girls.
Designer Rio Uribe spoke about the current state of refugees before models hit the Gypsy Sport runway, which was lined with tents to symbolize the displaced. A family of drummers who play instruments on the NYC subway also performed at the show.
Prabal Gurung sent top models like Bella Hadid and Joan Smalls down the runway in politically charged shirts that read "The Future Is Female," "Revolution Has No Borders" and "We Will Not Be Silenced," among other empowering statements.
Opening Mara Hoffman's Fall 2017 show were the cofounders of the Women's March on Washington (Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour), who delivered speeches on the rights of the marginalized.
A major political statement occurred during the Missoni show at Milan Fashion Week as an Italiano take on the Women's March. Before the show even began, a notable sprinkling of pink knit beanies filled the crowd between show-goers and staff alike. Collection notes indicated that "Angela Missoni communicates the femininity of our times, prepared to confront the conflicts and dilemmas of our contemporary society: the conditions, needs and rights of all women and minorities." Gigi Hadid opened the show to the song The Revolution Will Not be Televised before a finale walk of models clad in Missoni-style pussy hats unequivocally expressed feminist messaging. Angela Missoni then took to the runway to deliver an empowering speech in support of female unity and human rights for all.