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The Rise of Sociopolitical Fashion

America’s new political era is transcending into the fashion world

New York Fashion Week 2017 presented the new collections of Fall 2107, which, across the board, featured florals, oversized outerwear and an extensive spectrum of colors, but there was a larger political message that spoke louder than the projected trends for the Fall. After the seemingly shocking presidential election of Donald Trump, the fashion world has emulated the horrifying sociopolitical issues that America has faced under his presidency thus far. As various  fashion shows appear on my Instagram feed, I noticed that the designers were heavily inspired by the Trumpian era.

Adam Lippes

Artist, fashion enthusiast, and current student at Wesleyan University, Allegra Lorenzotti, attended Adam Lippes’ presentation. During our interview, she explained the relevan

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Allegra Lorenzotti outside Lippes’ F/W’17 presentation

cy of his event. Lippes’ Fall 2017 presentation was intimate as it was located in his own home. The presentation intentionally took place during the Planned Parenthood march in Washington Square Park. The models walked through the march with protest signs and entered Lippes’ townhouse with the signs in hand.  Allegra reflected on Lippes’ approach as imperative, saying “artists are supposed to reflect the time and political climate so it makes perfect sense that designers [like Adam] are portraying this right now”.

 

Calvin Klein

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Calvin Klein F/W’17

Raf Simons’ debut collection for Calvin Klein also spoke to these  sociopolitical beliefs by  putting on an extremely diverse show with clothing ranging from causal to dressy in all colors and textures. In addition to the incredibly heterogenous fashion, Simons dressed male and female models in the same outfits to further his political stance. In his own personal description of his show, he explains that he aimed to represent “different people with different styles and dress codes” in order to emulate “the unique beauty and emotion of America”. Simons ironically contrasted the diverse fashion with David Bowie’s “This Is Not America”.

Prabal Gurung

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Prabal Gurung F/W’17

Prabal Gurung’s show also took a political stance, but in a more obvious manner by dressing the models, including numerous graphic tees that donned different pro-Feminism messages, such as “Our Minds, Our Bodies, Our Power”, “We Will Not Be Silenced” and “This is What a Feminist Looks Like”.  These t-shirts are now available for purchase on Gurung’s online shop. The fashion show was accompanied by politically charged songs, such as Arcade Fire’s “I  Give You Power” , Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and America’s “Make Me Believe In You”.

Other shows that raised sociopolitical issues included Zadig et Voltaire, Christian Siriano, Public School, Milly, Jonathan Simkhai, Vaquera amongst many others. When discussing the political influence on present day fashion, fashion businesswoman, Eva Jeabart-Lorenzotti, explained that “the last effective sociopolitical fashion movement involved AIDS beginning in the 80s and recurring again in the mid 2000s with Gap’s launch of the ‘Red’ campaign”. She believes that the shows she attended that made a political statement transcended the “bubble world of fashion to real pressing American issues”.

The sociopolitical inspiration during New York Fas

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Vaquera F/W’17

hion Week was fully supported by The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), which partnered with Planned Parenthood to donate five dollars for each Instagram post with #IStandWithPP. In addition to donations to Planned Parenthood, the CFDA distributed pins throughout fashion week that read “Fashion Stands With Planned Parenthood” in order to spread awareness of the importance of the organization provides to millions of Americans everyday.

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