This Is How SPFW 45 Showed Us Fashion Is Also About Politics

Fashion is everywhere. No matter where you’re going, what you’ll be doing or when it’s gonna happen. You’ll be wearing at least a piece of clothing, that for some reason you liked and decided it was worth your money. Beyond that, we know it was produced by someone. And even before the fabrics fell on the arms of a worker, other people decided why it’d have this design, these colors and details.

These decisions are political acts. When you choose to produce a fur coat, it’s political. When your new collection has references to the Nazism, we don’t need to explicit it’s political. Also, the way it went of a piece of fabric to a piece of clothing is political. Who made your clothes? In which conditions? How much are they earning for it? Are kids involved on the process?

It’s about time we start paying attention to these details, and on SPFW 45, the edition of the fashion week that happened in April this year, some of the designers made it pretty clear why they made their decisions. What was chosen to be created, all the reasons behind, who was responsible for the pieces. It all was highlighted on the catwalk, along with social issues arraigned by fashion.

Projeto Ponto Firme and the brazilian prison problem

The first day of SPFW was marked by Projeto Ponto Firme, its clothes and, mainly, the ones behind the pieces that took the catwalk. Idealized by the designer Gustavo Silvestre, the project consists on teaching crochet on Presídio Adriano Marrey, a male prison located in Guarulhos, São Paulo’s metropolitan region. The classes resulted on amazing pieces of clothing, and the work of 20 inmates was presented to the crowd on April 21st.

Anderson Figueredo, who has already left jail, is one of the men who joined the project. “I thought crochet was a women’s thing, I really had prejudice. They forced me to participate and it ended up being a restart. A way to recover everything I was losing. The message I wanna send today is: humanity”, he told FFW on the backstage of the fashion show, while waiting to become a model and present his work.

Anderson Figueredo Image Source: Zé Takahashi/FOTOSITE

“To the students of the project, the crochet means a window inside the jail, that brings color and autonomy. The creative process was always conducted by the vision they have of the world”, Silvestre explained to Estadão. Part of the reality found on a jail is right on the clothes, along with the opportunity given to those who need to find ways to overcome their pasts, being this chance so little on brazilian prisons as it could be.

The resocialization goal is swallowed by precarious conditions, the lack of government, raise of criminal factions and a revenge and punitive feeling coming from society in general. Projeto Ponto Firme has pointed the highlights to this huge problem -- there are 726 thousands inmates in Brazil, the third biggest prison population in the world -- and showed us a way to think about effective solutions. Because we know, the way a country chooses to treat its prison population is a political option. So are its consequences.

Image Source: Zé Takahashi/FOTOSITE

All the pieces presented on the show will be shown at the Museu da Resistência de São Paulo.

Ronaldo Fraga and the Mariana disaster

Ronaldo Fraga is already known for his iconic and political fashion shows. In October of 2016, he selected trans models and turned the catwalk on a manifesto. The crowd got really emotional and the tears have also felt this year, when São Paulo was just a supporting place to the real city where the show happened: Mariana, in Minas Gerais.

The location was devastated in 2015, when a a dam broke and destroyed the city, taking the life of 19 people. The brazilian worst environmental disaster was massively reported on the entire world, and now, it became the main topic of Fraga’s work. But not on the traditional bias of showing how the place is wrecked. But bringing a poetry message of hope.

Image Source: Zé Takahashi/FOTOSITE

The mud was all over the floor and walls and models. The clothes, according to Folha de São Paulo, only happened because of a partnership between the designer and Fundação Renova, that helps the families of Barra Longa community. That's how Fraga got in touch with the dressmakers, responsible for the embroiders of the collection and a powerful message: the textile culture must also be preserved, as it keeps innumerous traces of a place culture and also, its memories, something that came clear with the dress above.

Image Source: Zé Takahashi/FOTOSITE

Fernanda Yamamoto and Amapô

We also had Amapô and its non-professional casting, made of friends and guests that were not supposed to fit on the model stereotype. They might not really break with body standards, but are way different and way more diverse than most of the castings you’ll be seeing around, even thought the debate about diversity has already been here for several years.

Amapô and Fernanda Yamamoto shows | Image Source: FOTOSITE

Fernanda Yamamoto and her sustainable dream was also a highlight, that brought the japanese community Yuba to the catwalk on every single way the designer could. The place doesn’t just inspired her creative process, but was present as seven Yuba women became models – let’s be honest, are you used to see older and real woman on fashion shows? – and the process of making the clothes coming true was totally different. She decided to bet on the sustainable way the community produces and everything needed to have the minor impact it could.