A Different Kind of Women’s March

While many of us may be turning to this season’s award shows like the Oscars to see what sort of political statement the fashionably dressed celebrity-studded crowd is making, there have been many fashion designers who have chosen to use their runways as platforms for powerful political messages and should not be ignored. Fashion has made its mission to encourage women to fight and protecting them when they do. Some of the messages go undisguised and are an obvious jab at the current state of Washington and the country as a whole and others have made a more subtle proclamation. But subtle or not, with the right platform and response, they can exert quite a powerful force. Designers have taken protest and made these statements trends and their collections have been somewhat of a call to arms against the new White House administration led by Donald Trump, which at less than two months old, has already proceeded to menace the rights of many groups and the United State’s relationships with foreign nations. While many designers quietly stewed over the disappointing results of the elections in the months following, fashion week gave them the opportunity to voice their opinions about the causes they most closely relate to:

Missoni introduced the “pussy hat” (honestly just typing that word makes me cringe) to the runway; guests found the pink knit hats on their seats when they entered and were encouraged to put them on during the finale along with the models, the designer, Angela Missoni, and the Missoni family as “Power to the People” played.

Tracy Reese, who walked in the Women’s March on Washington, had four poets deliver performances with no parameters except that the poems had to be women’s stories before her show. Tracy Reese, an African American designers, has always designed for different kinds of women varying in shapes, sizes, colors and ages and wanted to give them a voice.

The slogan tee, made popular during the 1980s and 90s, has made a resurgence with designers like Prabal Gurung and Christian Siriano incorporating them on their runways. In the finale of his show, Gurung sent the models out in black and white t-shirts declaring messages like ‘The future is female,’ ‘nevertheless she persisted’ and ‘voices for choices’ while the designer's own t-shirt displayed the phrase ‘this is what a feminist looks like’.

Siriano sent out a single slogan t-shirt that read "people are people" and paired it with a pink silk skirt.

Designers of the label Public School made a more obvious message by taking Donald Trump’s infamous ‘Make America Great Again’ hat and stitching a new message on it: ‘Make America New York.’ New York? Dao-Yi Chow, one of Public School’s co-designers, said they chose New York because it is a melting pot of all different cultures and immigrants from all over.

With national politics in disarray, the fashion industry has been a force that is encouraging consumers to fight rather than settling for the status quo by doing what they do best.

Photo Credit: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6