May 24, 2019 | By Cassandra Napoli
This season New York Fashion Week served as a platform for designers to voice their views on the current global political climate.
Basic tees were used as the vehicle, emblazoned with statements of solidarity and unity in bold sans-serif typefaces. Creatures of Comfort opted for a skewed handwritten slogan, implying it came straight from a protest placard.
These tees set the tone for the season, and showed that fashion was no longer being quiet on the key issues. But, these tees have also become a huge talking point themselves with the question of what role fashion should play when it comes to politics.
Prior to New York Fashion Week, The Business of Fashion ran a think piece on the fact that the fashion industry had largely remained quiet on the subject of immigration. This was particularly interesting because especially in New York the fashion industry’s heritage is that it was staffed by immigrants who were based on Seventh Avenue creating the designs that defined the early American Fashion Industry. The BOF article has had almost 4,000 shares and inspired The Business of Fashion to invite designers this season to wear white bandanas in solidarity with their #TiedTogether campaign as a celebration of diversity and inclusivity.
Added to that, days before runway kick off, the CFDA also announced that it would be responding to the political climate by offering its Fashion Stands with Planned Parenthood pins, which were spotted on designers, models and show-goers alike this season.
And then designer Prabal Gurung made the biggest statement with his feminist friendly t-shirts, and other designers from Christian Siriano, to Public School and Creatures of Comfort also opted for statement tees to make their voices heard.
After initially being rather quiet on the topic, fashion has come out fighting. But what impact do these tees have? And there is also the question of the price tag associated with these essentially luxury garments? And there is the question of who owns the rights to certain slogans- especially in this current fashion time when notable slogans and brands have been remixed by the likes of Vetements and Gucci Ghost. One of the original feminist friendly t-shirt was created by Rachel Berks-an independent boutique owner. Her t-shirt with the slogan ‘The Future is Female’ has been worn by celebrities and consumers alike. It was probably the most viral t-shirt until New York fashion week, and more importantly it only retails (here) for $30. But now the runway has its own luxury versions.
What do you think about the rise of high-fashion luxury political tees, weigh into the debate below:
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