Jan 15, 2019 | By Sarah Housley
Just last week the CFDA, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, held its annual holiday pop-up shop. It was a fashion incubator space, to celebrate emerging design talent from NY menswear designer DDUGOFF and help consumers pick up something special for the holidays. So far, so normal. But what was interesting was that the proceeds from the pop-up went to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Then we received an email from Capsule, one of the biggest trade shows in New York about a special collection they are working on that will launch through wholesale in January 2017. The collection called POLI-SCI by Capsule was “created with politics, our future and We The People in mind, driven by the 2016 election and its aftermath…and proceeds from POLI-SCI by Capsule will be donated to the cause-focused, non-profit of each designer’s choice.”
And then finally, while scrolling through Supreme’s Instagram account we came across this, their Say No shirt, proceeds of which also went to the ACLU.
Now, to be clear fashion has always been very vocal about charity and change. Especially in America, and New York, the industry has not been shy about coming forward on the issues. From Donna Karan’s Seventh on Sale events that she started in the 80s for the American Foundation for AIDS research to Anna Wintour’s numerous charity and political fundraisers, to Katharine Hamnett’s eco-friendly slogan T-shirts that put sustainability front and centre of the fashion conversation. But recently fashion has been struggling to make a stand, to be heard. While emerging designers fresh from their graduate studies, have taken on the responsibility to call out the divisions caused by Brexit and the depth of the Black Lives Matter movement, the upper echelons of ‘fashion’ have been a little too quiet.
It’s understandable, surely designers ( like the rest of us) want to put their heads back under the blanket and forget that the stresses of 2016 are happening; but creatives and those in fashion, specifically can’t simply bow out of the conversation. The majority of those who work in fashion are female, and whether you are a female designer or not, chances are that you design for women, they are your muse, therefore female rights matter, and the rights of minorities matter. Traditionally, let us not forget that the cornerstone of American fashion came from New York’s garment district, a place packed with minorities, sewing, stitching, crafting and creating the future of American fashion.
And so in a world that seems beyond topsy turvy right now, where Kanye is hugging Trump, where women’s reproductive rights are threatened, where the diverse cultures that make up your inspiration moodboard for your new collection are fighting for their lives, fashion must speak up. That’s the magic of being a creative, to create more, to speak up, to keep doing the work, especially now.
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