4 Times Fashion Got Political at New York Fashion Week

Fashion definitely had a few things to get off its chest this season. Given the political situation in the United States currently, this shouldn’t have come as much of a shock. For a while it was all a bit up in the air how the fashion industry would deal with Trump’s inauguration as President. We knew there would be no happy medium because with fashion it’s all or nothing. Personally I’m so relieved and grateful that fashion houses went for it and spoke out about the political tension.

Fashion is such a massive platform for influence and truthfully, I would had been very disappointed had designers kept their mouth shout out of fear of how it would affect their sales to be controversial. With top names such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Anna Wintour in attendance, front row for many of the shows was made up of a lot of Hillary’s people. Not only that, but we sat back and watched as Nordstorm battled it out with the White House over Ivanka Trump’s line just as fashion week was kicking off. Realistically, there was no way political fashion could have been avoided.

Two of my favourite subjects, American politics and fashion coming together made watching New York fashion week coverage roll in even more interesting for me. A little surprisingly, their political approach to clothing this season made collections seem so much more wearable. London has a lot to compete with this week…

Now that New York fashion week has come to an end, here’s a round up of every political moment that hit the catwalk.

1.Support for Planned Parenthood

Ahead of fashion week, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) launched their Fashion Stands with Planned Parenhood campaign in order to raise awareness for the organisation and to fight against Trump’s campaign to defund Planned Parenhood because of “the abortion factor”. Badges were made with the Fashion Stands with Planned Parenthood on them and distributed to models, agencies, influencers and attendees. Famous faces such as Anna Wintour and Diane Von Furstenberg among others were spotted proudly flaunting the badge in support for the campaign.

It didn’t stop with badges however. Adam Lippes took his support for the cause one step further posting the below shot of himself to instagram where the designer can be seen posing with models holding signs stating “Women’s rights are human rights” and “Girl Power”.



2. #TiedTogether

Business of Fashion launched the next campaign in reaction to current political context. The idea behind #TiedTogether was a white bandana to be worn in attendance of the shows and throughout fashion week as a symbol of unity, inclusiveness and solidarity. They claimed it not to be a poilitcal statement but “a positive statement in support of humanity in a time of turmoil and fear in many nations around the world.” This approach may explain Tommy Hilfiger’s involvement who having previously stated it to be an honour to dress Melania Trump, had his models walk down the runway of his Tommy X Gigi show wearing the white bandanas.

Raf Simon’s Calvin Klein show followed suit with the #TiedTogether campaign with each guest receiving a bandana and a note encouraging them to wear it as a sign of unity, inclusion and acceptance. Raf’s finale was possibly one of the biggest political statements of the entire event as his model walked down the runway wrapped in an American flag to David Bowie’s “This is Not America”.

3. Political Slogans Galore

It seems that Maria Grazia Chiuri’s famous “We should all be feminists” and “Dior Revolution” slogan tees were only the beginning. This season in New York, the runway was awash with political statement after political statement printed loud and clear across several designer’s collections.

Arguably most notable was that of Prabal Gurung. The designer, who is of Nepalese heritage sent out his finale with models wearing t-shirts stating “Revolution has no borders” and “I am an immigrant” along with several other statements. He himself walked the finale wearing a tee stating “This is what a feminist looks like.” Bella Hadid told Teen Vogue in an interview that emotions were running high backstage at the show particularly for herself and Gurung himself who was said to be teary before walking out onto the runway.


Christian Siriano, Public School and Creatures of Comfort were among other designers using their collections to voice their feelings on their new President’s policies.


4. The Women’s March Founders Take to the Catwalk

Written within Mara Hoffman’s show notes was the fact that she was inspired by “women constantly creating in the name of change.” Four women in particular were Linda Sarsour, Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez – the founders of the Women’s March on Washington who Hoffman went on to invite to open the show. The four women read part of the Women’s March mission statement along with a quote from Maya Angelou “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” Unsurprisingly, their appearance and their message was received with a mass of applause and cheers from the audience.

It’s not often that fashion is associated so strongly with emotion but I think it’s safe to say that this season of New York fashion week was an emotional one. It left us all with a lot of thinking to do and hopefully fuelled the determination to stand strong and protect America’s future. Although the incorporation of politics in fashion surrounded New York Fashion Week with an atmosphere of intrigue, fashion and politics created a bitter sweet reunion.


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Niamh ♥


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