Nowadays fashion is not only about luxury lifestyle, but also about public stance. Not social status but social activism. The catwalk of XXI century is a city main square – the place for speaking out. Let’s look at the examples of modern fashion activism and activism in fashion sphere.

Bold activist slogans, inclusive casting choices and open declarations of individual views on social media made both by models and designers, characterize fashion’s new age of political consciousness. Throughout history, new social issues and challenges appeared, so designers, just as like artist and musicians, are ready to speak out an help the citizens to express their public stance in a stylish way.

Feminism

Feminists rights are well-performend in the fashion industry. One of the latest example of fashion activism is a work of Maria Grazia Chiuri, who last year made history by becoming the first woman to ever occupy the role of creative director at Christian Dior. Her first collection was simple, but straightforward : a T-shirt ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ attracted the attention of world media.

The slogan T-shirt may have found fame through the designs of controversial designers like Vivienne Westwood and Katherine Hamnett, but its beauty came from its simplicity  – all you needed was a message and a marker. Actually, you can do this fashionable T-Shirt at home. The statement is the title of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s seminal essay which was catapulted to worldwide fame when Beyoncé sampled its accompanying speech in her hit “Flawless.”

 

Hijabi beauty

In our minds supermodel is a girl in swimwear with perfect body. But not for all cultures this image of supermodel is acceptable. So here is the on who changed it. As a response to Donald Trumpʼs “exclusive” politics concerning immigrants, the first hijabi model appeared on the runway this seazon. It is Halima Aden, cast by Yeezy and Max Mara.

Born in a refugee camp in Kenya, she moved to the U.S. with her mom at age seven and grew up in St. Cloud, Minnesota, a town of about 65,000. Aden is a true fashion activist: she inspires young muslim girls to be proud of their religion and their look, by making videos about stylish muslim outfits. Her audience is not only immigrants all over the US, but also ladies from muslim countries. Halima shares the latest muslim beauty trends and empowers girls to not be efraid of self-expression.

Gender diversity on the runway

Choosing transgender people as models is a political statement itself. More and more designers are voting for human rights by including trans models in their fashion shows. Fashion magazines join: the March issue of French Vouge featured a transgender model, a  20 years old brazilian Valentina Sampaio,  on its cover by the first time of Vogueʼs history. This was not for the first time in the fashion history in general, but the case shows that it was not one-off repreentation of transgenders in fashion world. Hari Nef appeared on Frische, a twice-yearly fashion and art magazine, in 2014; Andreja Pejić was on Marie Claire Spain a year ago; and Ms. Sampaio on Elle Brazil last October, to name a few.

As French Vogueʼs editor-inchief Emmanuelle Alt wrote in her editor’s letter, “transgender people are “the ultimate of a rejection of conformity” — the sort of “icons that Vogue supports and chooses to celebrate.”

Ms. Sampaio said that she only had “supercool feedback”. On her Instagram feed, her following has shot up by several thousand to more than 53,000, and the Vogue cover image has received laudatory comments such as “You are beautiful,” “History made” and “#finally.”

 

Disabled and active

Inclusive fashion shows is not a surprise anymore and we may say that disabled people on the runway are not an innovation, but a new tradition. London Fashion Week 2017 have proudly supported te idea and celebrated diversity and disability. A designer Teatum Jones kicked off London Fashion Week with a powerful celebration of diversity. The politically charged show, entitled ‘The Body | Part One’, featured an empowering soundtrack full of body positive quotations and Meryl Streep’s critique of Donald Trump when he appeared to mock a disabled journalist. Two of the models on the runway had visible disabilities and the label’s founders Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones have decided to launch a focus on disability fashion.  For example, Model Kelly Knox,  was born without a lower left arm.

The issue that persists

By the way, fashion industry has its internal problems itself. Despite of making attractive and bold statements, there are some people inside this industry, whose rights are violated the most. For example, according to Human Rights Watch reveals,workers are being arrested in Bangladesh for “striking to secure a monthly minimum wage increase from $67 to $200.  We live in the age of fast fashion. The approach is simple: “see-now, buy-now”. Not only are runways bare of trans, people of colour and plus-size models, the exploitation of international sweatshop workers is still an significant problem.

It is quite cool to make political statements, but why are so few designers who are willing to speak out against the issues which of their own industry?

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