3 Ways New York Fashion Week Is Teaching Us How to Dress for Resistance

Our style choices often act as a reflection of our day to day moods. In the wake of such a polarized political atmosphere, to put it lightly, people are especially moody.

In 2017, now more than ever, fashion is being utilized as a platform for protest.

Every year, New York Fashion Week serves as a way for designers to present the season’s newest trends to the public. During this year’s New York Fashion Week, the industry made it clear that the most fashionable trend of the season is activism.

Here are the top three ways this year’s fall/winter New York Fashion Week has shown us how to transcend fashion statements into political statements:

  1. Powerful Pink Pins

The alliance between Planned Parenthood and the Council of Fashion Designers of America has redefined our idea of relationship goals.

Together, they are showing the world that not only fashion, but the women who take part in it, are a force to be reckoned with.

The outcome: hot pink pins popping on, up, and around the runway.

Showcasing the connection between style and activism – the pins were imprinted with the campaign’s title, “Fashion Stands with Planned Parenthood.”

Even more, they were accompanied by a card that outlined Planned Parenthood’s services and various ways to get involved.

Notably, one way includes taking a snapshot of the pin and posting it on social media with the caption #IStandWithPP. For every post, the CFDA pledges a $5 donation to Planned Parenthood.

Further, this hot pink accessory was difficult to miss in person as well. It was not its attention-grabbing color but more the masses it was worn in that truly made a statement.

Designers, models, and industry influencers, proudly reinforced the campaign’s goal to “raise awareness and support for the critical health care that the organization’s centers provide and the millions of Americans it serves each year.”

2.  Bashing the Immigrant Ban with Bandanas

A post shared by The Business of Fashion (@bof) on Feb 7, 2017 at 10:06pm PST

If you’re looking for another activism accessory, Business of Fashion has you covered.

Business of Fashion understands that “in fashion, visuals speak louder than words.” That in mind, they have adopted the white bandana to symbolize the #TiedTogether initiative.

The #TiedTogether movement seeks to “make a clear statement in support of human unity and inclusiveness amidst growing uncertainty and a dangerous narrative peddling division.”

With highly regarded brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Donatella Versace giving the white bandana a stamp of approval during their shows, the movement has raised more than $50,000 for the American Civil Liberties Union and UN Refugee Agency.

Business of Fashion emphasizes that activism should not stop once the fashion show is over.

It asks everyone to, “unite by making a singular visual statement: wear a white bandana as a sign to the world that we believe in unity and inclusivity for all humankind.”

3. Hats against Hate

A post shared by Matthew Kanbergs (@mkanbergs) on Feb 13, 2017 at 6:27am PST

Recently, the quintessential style staple of America – the baseball cap – caused controversy when presented with President Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

However, during this year’s New York Fashion Week, the brand Public School attempts to reclaim the baseball cap by giving it a little makeover.

Public School’s models strutted down the runway wearing a replica of the notorious campaign attire, except this time saying, “Make America New York.”

Rejecting the Trump administration’s platform, the brand’s designers believe New York City embodies the fundamental values for making our country great: solidarity, tolerance, and diversity.

With the sunny season ahead, Public School has utilized its customer base by selling the hats online, and donating 100% of the proceeds to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Your purchase is not only a vote against Trump but also a vote for social justice and the protection of civil liberties.

Ripples of the Runway

The designers and models of New York Fashion Week were successful in transforming activism into wearable poetry. Similar to all forms of poetry, having a stage to exercise your voice can inform others while also inspiring them to do the same.

In 2017, the trend of utilizing imagery as a form of alternative protest is in practice all around us.

“Even here on campus, I have noticed similar gestures of activism. In fact, the Black Student Union made t-shirts to protest the disproportionate black admissions here at Cal Poly,” said Jose Leon, Lead Coordinator of the Cal Poly SLO Multicultural Center.

Hopefully New York Fashion Week has motivated you all to redress for resistance.

Continue to wear your poetic political beliefs proudly!

– Wearable Poetry  

Reason 3 million we wholeheartedly love @reformation: The Action Tees. For each tee purchased, $30 will be donated to @aclu_nationwide @plannedparenthood or #EDF. Pick your shirt, pick your action. ✌🏻✌🏼✌🏽✌🏾✌🏿. "Reformation is a company built by women and immigrants dedicated to protecting the environment. We believe in women's collective power and their right to make their own choices. We believe that America's strength is our diversity, and that our continued economic and ideological success depends on compassionate and open immigration policies. We believe that climate change is the biggest challenge facing our generation and is a direct result of human activities. We have limited resources and limited reach but we will use the resources and reach we have to stand up for these beliefs."

A post shared by The Future Is Female Movement (@thefutureisfemalemovement) on

Header Image:

Photo by ufcw770 (Flickr, Creative Commons)


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