ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: A political statement on the runway

Fashion has always been a theatre for politics, but most recently, with Brexit and Trump’s election as president, political statements on the runway have increased monumentally. At the AW17 fashion weeks, there was scarcely a show that didn’t make an open political statement on the catwalk.

New York Fashion Week

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Public School sent models down the runway in red caps branded with “Make America New York”, to the soundtrack of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land”. An obvious play on Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign caps, Public School’s version instead alludes to the inclusivity, diversity and tolerance found in New York.

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Slogan jumpers were given a political twist at the Creatures of Comfort show, which featured a model sporting the phrase “We Are All Human Beings” across the middle. A response to President Trump’s stance on refugees and his Muslim Ban, half the proceeds from sales of the jumper will go to the National Immigration Law Centre.

London Fashion Week

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Never one to shy away from a bold statement, Ashish’s London show featured models strutting down a yellow brick road catwalk to the tune of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Brightly embellished jumpers emblazoned with uplifting and unifying statements such as “Pussy Grabs Back”, “University in Adversity” and “Stay Woke” were all distinct responses to Trump’s presidency and the immediate need for political awareness.

Milan Fashion Week

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At Missoni, the models ended the show by doing their final walk sporting “Pussy Hats”, which became a symbol of solidarity for women’s rights activists during the Women’s March on Washington DC. Missoni staffers also gave out hats to everyone attending the show, creating a crowd of pink in the audience and an even stronger message.

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Versace’s unveiling of their Autumn/Winter 2017 collection promoted equality, unity and strong women. Models such as Jourdan Dunn and Stella Maxwell strutted the catwalk wearing beanies emblazoned with “equality”, “courage” and “unified” all in caps.

Paris Fashion Week

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At Redemption, models came out for their final walk holding white bandanas in the air. Started by a group of fashion influencers, the white bandanas have been worn at several fashion week shows, such as Tommy Hilfiger and Thakoon, to represent “unity and inclusivity for all humankind”. Wearers are suggested to tag pictures wearing the bandana with #tiedtogether and then donate to the American Civil Liberties Union or the UN Refugee Agency.

Izzie Ghaffari-Parker

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