By Madeleine Ang
The army of protests against newly elected President Donald Trump and his radical new policies marched its way onto runways during New York Fashion Week earlier this year. His rise to power has left no corner of the western world untouched. Everyone seems to have something to say about it and now, so does the fashion industry as many of it’s most influential designers jump onboard the anti-Trump train. Want to be on trend this season? Try casting some major shade at Trump with your outfit.
Arguably the most influential collection seen at New York Fashion Week was created by designer Prabal Gurung, one of the New York designers who created a t-shirt for Hilary Clinton’s campaign. His compelling finale consisted of a lineup of models all wearing statement T-shirts with various political statements, strutting to the rhythm of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’. Many slogans were taken from the recent Women’s March in which over 5 million people around the world gathered to advocate for women’s rights and other issues regarding gender injustice. Rising supermodel Bella Hadid opened the runway protest wearing a T-shirt reading ‘The future is female’. Other feminist slogans featured on the runway included “Femininity with a bite”, “Yes we should all be feminists”, “My boyfriend is a feminist”, “My girlfriend is a feminist” and “Nevertheless she persisted”. Collectively Gurung’s collection literally screamed a message of female empowerment, showing men and women that to have an image of strength and intelligence is one to be desired.
Another less obvious political trend besides Gurung’s graphic Tees was his incorporation of white bandanas as part of the #TiedTogether movement launched by Business of Fashion. Bandanas were tied around models necks and wrists to make a statement of unity and support amongst people of all races, religions, genders, and sexualities. The accessories were first seen at the Tommy Hilfiger show in LA and were delivered out to guests for the Calvin Klein show.
As well as the bandanas, bright pink pins reading “Fashion Stands with Planned Parenthood” have become the hottest new accessory. They were seen both on the runways and on the street style scene during NYFW. The Council of Fashion Designers of America teamed up with Planned Parenthood to produce the pins in an effort to oppose Trumps plan to cut millions of dollars in funding for Planned Parenthood.
The many political slogans seen at New York Fashion Week this February will undoubtedly be snapped up by the mass market and quickly become a mainstream fashion trend. They’re easy for fast fashion outlets to duplicate and with Trump seemingly becoming more and more unpopular, this political fashion trend will sell like hotcakes. Like all fashion trends, however, this one will eventually fade and the feminist t-shirts will inevitably be pushed to the back of the closet. Hopefully what continues to live on is the empowering message they’re enforcing, becoming something people live by rather than wear.
Images sourced from USWeekly, The Hollywood Reporter and Motto, 2017.