Fashion activism is when fashion and social or political beliefs merge to create support for or protest against a movement. I've seen quite a few examples of fashion activism in recent years and decided to share the most interesting or stand-out looks in modern times.
Activism through fashion made a huge impact in the 60's with the introduction of the mini skirt. Women wore mini skirts to rebel against gender stereotypes and show their independence. The mini skirt became a symbol for sexual liberation amongst women.
Printed slogan t-shirts rose to fame in the 1970's and are still a major trend today. They were used as a means to send a message across to people in a way that would prompt them to think and then eventually act on their thoughts.
These are just two examples of fashion activism in its earlier form.
75th GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS
Last month we saw almost all attendees of the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards wearing black in support of the #MeToo and Time's Up movement. Both movements are against sexual harassment. The Time's Up movement was created in response to the many sexual assault allegations made against Harvey Weinstein which prompted victims of sexual assault by other men in power to finally speak out, also known as the Weinstein Effect.
AMBER ROSE AND BLAC CHYNA (VMA’S 2015)
This was one of my absolute favourite fashion moments of all time. Models Amber Rose and Blac Chyna rocked up to the annual VMA's in 2015 wearing body-hugging outfits that had misogynistic terms plastered all over them. This was a ‘stick-it-to-the-man’ gesture and it required such bravery. I personally feel that it was one of the most iconic red carpet moments in feminist history which wasn’t noticed enough.
DIOR’S ‘WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS’ TEES
The saying made famous by one of my feminist icons, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, after her famous speech and essay was published on why everyone should consider themselves a feminist. Dior adopted the name of her speech and used it in their 2016 collection. Albeit, the tees were met with a lot of controversy as none of the proceeds of the $400 t-shirt were given to any charity or organisation to help diminish gender inequality initially. Dior became aware of the outrage and later decided to donate a portion of the profits to charity.
ORANGE AS A SYMBOL TO STOP GUN VIOLENCE
With all the mass shootings going on in America, orange was used to show solidarity against gun violence and many celebrities took to the cause. Hunters usually wear orange to alert other hunters that they are not a target. Wearing orange was thus used as a way to let people know that the citizens of Chicago do not want to be victims of gun violence anymore. The movement was in response to an eighteen year old girl getting shot due to conflicting gang violence. Actress Julianne Moore created the #WearOrange Day to create awareness around the effects of gun violence.
I thoroughly enjoyed researching fashion activism for this post because I got exposed to so many creatives in the fashion industry who are trying to use fashion as a means to communicate a message with a purpose. Clothing and/or attire has become more than ornamental, it is a statement of belief and personality.