Fashion Activism at NYFW
What we saw on the runway vs. what we saw on Instagram
NYFW is winding down, and this year we had a whole lot of #fashionactivism shown on the runway. From models of all sizes and ethnicities, to statement t-shirts à go-go, I am left wondering: was this a new trend? Or is the industry becoming more woke?
Designers are making bold political messages at New York Fashion Week reports the Daily Mail UK. Fashion has generally tended to shy away from making any political statement in the past, unless politics become trend.
Is the white bandana the new safety pin? Who is is for? What is it changing? It feels like an exclusive elitist movement that starts on the front row of big fashion shows and descends down on the masses by proclaiming: We are all united. My “This is fucking Bullshit radar” is going off the charts.
Here’s another statement pantie for you:
My question to the Fashion Industry is: What else can we do besides over-priced (made in China) statement t-shirts?
In her article “With Everything About Trump, What’s a Designer to Do?”, Vanessa Friedman declares:
“Message tees are a beginning, but they are also easy; it’s message clothing that is hard.”
What do we mean by message clothing?
It is in the fabric’s DNA: organic material, cruelty free or up-cycled plastic or waste into new material and fabrics that are post-consumer materials made to last, and made by non-exploitative manufacturing.
It is in the meaning of the garment: a Hijab, a Hoodie, Jeans, a Little Black Dress, every piece of clothing has a meaning and could carry a political message.
It is in the print: a message, an image, or data telling a bigger story.
Fashion as Archeological Artifacts
If we were to mix all three of these into one project, we would get: A Jumpsuit, made with 100% recycled plastic water bottles to denim and printed with a NASA Earth Observatory image of a melting glacier both raising awareness about the fact that Global Climate Change is Real (not an alternative fact) and being itself a reminder, a walking billboard of our understanding as a statement.
This jumpsuit will *never* biodegrade because of its plastic nature, it is used as a canvas for future archeological finding. A wearable art piece that both indicates on the fact that women wore the pants in our society, they worked, they were comfortable, and second: the proof that glaciers existed in a world post sea level rise where data will need to be archived on other things then digital platforms.
On Instagram we were able to see a more grass root approach to Fashion Activism that was missing from the runways at this year’s NYFW. My question to Fashion Editors is: How will you bridge the gap between the movement that started on the streets vs. what is most of the time talked about in the spotlights on the runways? How will you preserve innovation in your industry and nurture the rebels that experiment, design and create meaningful ethical products that your customers crave?