Fashion is art, and art is creation. However creativity has always been shaped through the lived experience. Accordingly, art is a reflection of time, immortalized in a painting, a song, or even a dress.
In a post-election world, where short-sighted executive orders and lingering fears about civil liberties hang in the zeitgeist, the experience surrounding the artist’s world is one of fear, anger, and melancholia. If New York Fashion Week bears any indication of the artistic themes to come, we can safely state that designers have blossomed into positive activism, with pieces more boldly convicted towards uniting people, than ever before.
“Designers don’t live in a vacuum, they are not blind to what’s going on,” Vogue Editor Anna Wintour said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “They too will be inspired by what they see and that will come out in their work. The next few years are going to be incredibly creative.”
The political creativity, it appears, has already started.
In an interview with NPR released earlier this week, Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott says that his collection was inspired by the idea of a dystopian future (a sentiment also echoed in the sold-out resurgence of dystopia novels post election). Military overtones, complete with guerrilla warfare, infiltrate his collection. There are also strong calls for civic action, with the numbers for politicians printed on the back of these designer shirts.
When asked if he was worried his collection would come off as a little alarmist, Scott replied, “No, I do not worry about it. I think that [Trump] has given us a great gift. I will give Donald that very important honor, he has brought people together. He’s woke us up.”
Wintour agrees that the election results – particularly in terms of its implications for women – were a big wake up call to celebrate diversity within the industry: “It seemed to us that it was time to celebrate and be positive and optimistic and say, ‘look at all these incredibly talented people we have working not only in fashion but in every possible walk of life.’”
The industry has been united in this call to arms, teaming up to support specific causes throughout this week. Perhaps the most noticeable of these events includes the sporting of white bandanas around the wrists of designers, models, and celebrities attending the event. The idea was pushed earlier this week by BoF co-founder and editor-in-chief Amran Amed. He described this symbolic act as “a sign to the world that you believe in the common bonds of humankind – regardless of race, sexuality, gender or religion.”
— Business of Fashion (@BoF) February 9, 2017
The CDFA has also launched a partnership with Planned Parenthood this week, and will be promoting the distribution and wearing of pink pins at the all-week New York event. The pins will include a card with information on Planned Parenthood services, as well as ways for pin wearers to get involved. CFDA President and CEO Steven Kolb stated, “Defunding Planned Parenthood will impact millions of Americans. We will raise awareness and support this fashion week and show that Fashion Stands with Planned Parenthood.” Over 40 designers are participating, including Diane von Furstenberg, Kate Spade, and Tory Burch. If you can’t get out to NYFW to participate, you can follow along at home under the hashtag #TiedTogether