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Fashion is Getting Political

May 23, 2017

Now this doesn’t mean you have to head to a polling station to select your favourite style of jeans. It means designers are getting more into culture and social movement than ever before.


Racism, class, global warming, social media – a semantic field of the 21st Century.


Fashion Week is getting more and more popular every year as designers and models can communicate with the public with ease thanks to social media. Fans are excited to see what the new seasons will bring and the trends that will soon filter down into high-street stores and prices they can actually afford.


It seems that us laypeople did not get the memo of this year’s theme for the first of the bi-annual Fashion Weeks to defy all politics, and make a strong stand against the establishment, within 10 to 20 minutes of a runway show.


Kanye West returned to New York Fashion Week on Wednesday 15 February, at Pier 59 Studios, and of course fans were ready to see something controversial, especially following the drama of his wife being robbed at gunpoint in Paris and his breakdown at a concert. But, Kim Kardashian West was there to support him, along with sister Kylie Jenner. Other famous faces included Carine Roitfeld, Teyana Taylor, Tyga and the incomparable Anna Wintour.


Being a man who is always tied to controversy, Kanye broke the internet after she publicly showed support for Donald Trump. However, after the travel and immigration ban, Kanye has downsized his love for the President. He made a huge statement when he hired Halima Aden to walk in his show Yeezy Season 5 and kept on her headscarf.

The 19-year-old model took to Instagram to say she ‘wore [her] hijab as my crown. Don’t ever change yourself… diversity IS beauty.’ Clearly, despite all negative critique and comments the rapper gets, Kanye is a visionary in his expression of art and is definitely making a clear message to all that he is not a racist nor does he agree with people abandoning their religious values for mainstream media and jobs. Furthering this, he did not allow social media to be used throughout the entirety of the show.


Creating diversity on the catwalk, Simone Rocha had no limitations on the ages of models she hired. Stocknewsusa.com stated ‘The reason why she became a designer is to include everyone. With this show, she wanted to express her beliefs.’


For New York Fashion Week, Sunday 19 February, the designer was keen to demonstrate that fashion is for people of all ages and not stuck in one age category. Hiring the Italian model Benedetta Barzini was a big hit with viewers and critics. Still stunning at 73-years-old, Barzini was elegant with her silver hair in a neat bun and chic in an oversized fur jacket.


In America, it is clear that designers were actively opposing the new implementations of the maverick Donald Trump. Famous figures have been vocal in their disagreement of his values and were not afraid to use garments to express themselves out in the open. But British designers were also getting their rebellion on.


On Saturday 18 February, at the Millennium Hotel Mayfair, House of iKons presented their designers for the first show in our capital this year. Dimple Amrin was the only designer to be personally announced by host, and CEO of the fashion house, Savita Kaye. She explained the line displayed in particular was “about women and how they’re portrayed in society, the abuse that they face’ and focused on the unequal weighting between sexes.          


Dimple Amrin is a luxury label who has ‘stayed true to the beauty of India’ and emits grace in every piece. The designer had clearly made use of feminine styles of a soft colour palette, trained skirts and Bardot necklines. The use of capes was also an interesting choice for the runway collection. Models omitted from wearing muted glam makeup and were instead made up with coloured face paint of random designs, tribal-type patterns and even caged headpieces.


It seemed as if the designer was keen to reflect the runway models as strong, confident and heroic women. The crowd were besotted with the whole production and entreprenuer AJ Joshi went to Twitter to show his admiration and that he ‘stand[s] by her values and vision… it helps build courage for those suffering to speak up and tell someone’.

Delhi-born designer Ashish Gupta hit London Fashion Week on the eve of Monday 20 February. First airing his clothing in 2005, he has won the New Generation Award on three occasions.

Following his Indian roots, his messages are always strong. His previous show was themed to ‘celebrate immigrant lives’. Models wore traditional style Asian garments and make-up, and the accompaniment music was a live Sitar player. This year he opted for Feminism. Despite the production being bright, bold and brilliant, his messages to Mr Trump were transparent.


Being a fan of rainbow sequins in his designs, he elevated their meaning and put them to good use this season. Using jerseys, baseball jackets and other Americana-type styles, Ashish stitched slogans onto them. Phrases included “Nasty Woman” and “Pussy Grabs Back”.


Popsugar.co.uk called this February’s show a ‘moment that’ll go down in history’. His close attention to gender equality and even gay pride, with the interrogative “Why be blue when you can be gay?”, demonstrates he is not afraid to fight for love and peace in our recent hopeless state of humanity. 


Other standout political revolts made at this years Fashion Weeks included Michael Kors hiring plus size model Ashley Graham as a catwalk model and Tommy Hilfiger introducing unity bandanas, worn by the increasingly popular Hadid sisters in the show. Anna Wintour, the biggest fashion influencer, was amongst those who wore pins for Planned Parenthood.


It seems like designers are creating a new Government within themselves and coming together to promote unity, equality and love for all. Are they a new era of political leaders and is fashion fighting for the greater good? Only time and well-dressed protestors will tell.


Only half way through the fashion festivities, designers had started strong. It was up to Milan and Paris to bring us home. What had other global fashionistas have sewed up and did the anti-establishment trend continue?


Let me know your thoughts and about the two unmentioned Fashion Weeks. #PoliticsInFashion

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