Wardrobes infused with politically charged slogans are present on our social media feeds more than ever. Whether it’s a “Girl Power” tee or jeans telling us that “the future is female”, feminists messages on clothing are inescapable. Music videos such as Janelle Monae’s most recent video promoting a visual representation of the female body. These messages of inclusivity show that currently, in fashion, anything goes.
When being interviewed by ELLE, Maria Grazia Churi shared her views on Political Activism in the fashion industry. Stating that: “I believe that fashion today should take on the responsibility of being activist” and that “fashion holds a central role in what is viewed as contemporary by the general public.”
Championing all body types and gender identities is a message across many fashion, beauty and lifestyle companies
While a political message isn’t always as bold as Monae’s video, political empowerment and activism is rife. Take Tommy Hilfiger’s recent fashion launch. Working with Runway of Dreams, a non-profit promoting the “differently-abed community” in fashion, Tommy Hilfiger has created the first adaptive clothing line.
Featuring Velcro packets, magnetic buttons and easy-open necklines, Tommy Hilfiger is paving the way for fashionable, stylish outfits. But, considering that 15% of the global population are disabled, a statistic provided by the World Health Organisation, it seems surprising that it’s taken to 2018 for a brand to be so inclusive.
Messages of empowerment are not just limited to Tommy Hilfiger. Championing all body types and gender identities is a message across many fashion, beauty and lifestyle companies, with a notable campaign from River Island.
After 30 years of River Island, their most recent campaign “Labels are for Clothes, Not People” looked to bring together a diverse group of faces and voices who purchase River Island clothing, exploring identities and rejecting labels. Working with anti-bullying charity, Ditch Label, every sale generated £3 worth of donations to the charity.
Whilst I do think that this is an excellent campaign as it brings discussion of gender identity and stereotyping to the fore, real changes in society do not arrive from purchasing a that top fits into your Instagram aesthetic. The campaign is empowering, but I struggle to conceive how much change this will actually have on the way industries label individuals, especially those working in the fashion industry.
It’s down to politically inclusive messages from leading companies in fashion industries that are making customers feel welcomed and beautiful
Fashion has always been a reflection of the political climate, yet in 2018, the biggest message represents products that are skin-inclusive. ASOS have just released their nude underwear range, selling products in chestnut, golden and beige, and Fenty Beauty released 40 different shades of foundation in its launch last year.
Models on websites don’t have the typical skinny model figure either. ASOS have been applauded on social media recently for their decision to use models with a wide range of body types and not airbrushing out stretchmarks. It’s down to politically inclusive messages from leading companies in fashion industries that are making customers feel welcomed and beautiful.
Political activism is hanging in our wardrobes and our social media more than before. It was there in previous years, but what with recent global movements such as ‘#MeToo’ shining a spotlight on female empowerment, it’s no surprise that the runway and the high street is full of political messages and slogan tees telling us what to do and how to live our lives.