With major changes happening all around the world, people are turning to their own methods of creative expression to make their voice heard. While some may say fashion and politics have always been intertwined, it wasn’t until recent years that fashion has become one of the most common ways for the average person to make a political statement. Whether you’re protesting the president with a hat, standing for women’s rights through a graphic t-shirt, or sending your models down the runway in a hijab, all have been seen as politically bold fashion statements.
It is no secret that our society is in a time of deep divisions within our government. These divisions and contentions are portrayed in nearly every aspect of our culture. We have entered a time where fashion has more of a political voice than ever before. Our society has grown accustomed to speaking out and voicing an opinion thanks to increasingly popular empowerment movements within the last decade. Fashion has become a safe ground where people are choosing to engage with politics and address current events head-on.
While there are many ways people can choose to engage in the politics of fashion, some of the most popular involvements that we have seen over the last few years have been through boycotts, runway statements, and increased representation. Long gone are the days where retail brands can peacefully voice their political opinion without receiving backlash by those with an opposing stance. While I don’t necessarily agree with hate towards someone with a different opinion than you, it certainly shows that customers care who (and what) they are supporting even if it is just through association.
On the flip side of the customer, the runway is where we have seen some of the biggest political statements come from designers. Tommy Hilfiger, Christian Siriano, and Calvin Klein are just a few who have been known to send clothing onto the runway that is slathered with a political statement across the front. As for the topics of choice, Planned Parenthood, queer rights, and immigration laws have been some of the most common but the list of possibilities is nearly endless.
As we continue to face these times of government division, politics will continue to be reflected through the fashion industry, and rightfully so. The power driving the fashion industry is the desire for self-expression, individuality, and creativity. Being able to intertwine fashion with great political movements through a clothing design is one of the most powerful things consumers can do with their voice, their creativity, and their political stance.