Politics on the Runway

Unapproachable models, stressed out designers, insanely uncomfortable heels, exotic fabric, unforeseeable fashion trends and… politics? Fashion shows come with all sorts of expectations, however, politics was definitely left off the checklist for many attendees.

This past week, President Donald Trump announced his plan to put an end to DACA, provoking many protests and rallies to take place throughout the country. The protests were very well present in the streets of New York City, coincidentally clashing with New York Fashion Week.

New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is one of the biggest fashion events in the world, bringing together dozens of the best designers along with their hopefully soon-to-be trendy fashion pieces. As such a big influence with even bigger influencers in attendance, NYFW has the ability to spread news and ideas like, well, fashion trends.

At one particular show held this past weekend, guests noticed at one point, the models were holding signs supporting DACA. The show consisted of emerging designers getting ready for the trendy Spring/Summer 2018 collection featuring designers like Samantha Leibowitz, Mikelsen, Fesvedy, and Frances Jerard.

“I loved how part of the show was used as a platform for ideas,” Zheni Gusho, a Stony Brook student who attended the show, said. “People walked up and down the runway with signs that supported DACA, saying things like ‘Stand up for the Dreamers.’ I thought it was great that they used their influence for a good cause.”

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has been supporting New York Fashion Week since 1994 when they were entrusted for “Fashion Targets Breast Cancer.” Since then, the CFDA has found new and creative ways to spread awareness of societal issues through clothing.

In past seasons, the CFDA has touched upon issues such as abortion, feminism and more. This year, the CFDA has expanded to support the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in which they created blue ribbons for designers and guests to wear. With numerous reactions to the Trump administration, the ACLU has been very active in standing up for the rights of marginalized groups, especially in cases regarding immigration.

It did not come to as a shock to many that NYFW and the CFDA would be in support of DACA as the fashion industry relies mainly on immigrants in both design and production capacity.

Fashion/Beauty blogger and fellow Her Campus Stony Brook team member, Jasmin Suknanan, was invited to the show because of her blog’s fashion influences. “I think it’s important for that [DACA] message to be heard in today’s political climate because there’s so much hate and ignorance targeted toward a general group of people,” she said. “They’re the very same people who help give America the rich, diverse reputation other countries admire.”