For many Stevens students, this will be the first presidential election they are eligible to vote in, so it is no wonder it has been such a hot topic. The 2016 presidential candidates have created such a stir in the past year that even celebrities are taking a stance and urging citizens to register and vote. The political buzz has not skipped over the world of fashion. New York fashion week was sprinkled with subtle and not so subtle hints for the upcoming election.
The clothing brand Opening Ceremony directly addressed the upcoming election by opening their show with various comedians and actresses, such as Whoopi Goldberg and Aubrey Plaza, who were featured in an overarching discussion on current events. The show, set up like a pageant, had various models and celebrity guests walk the runway and stop to answer a question on a political issue that mattered to them. Rashida Jones spoke on the Syrian refugee crisis and Diane Guerrero from “Orange is the New Black” addressed immigration reform.
R13, a brand known for luxury denim, also made a political statement in their show, though it was not delivered quite as eloquently as Opening Ceremony’s. The R13 runway featured punk looks: platform boots, oversize button downs, ripped sweater and monochrome black outfits. A few of the more memorable looks featured slogans like “F*** Trump” and “God Save America” plastered all over leggings or baggy t-shirts.
In addition to these politically-themed runways, Anna Wintour, Vogue’s editor-in-chief, hosted a fashion fundraiser to launch the Made for History clothing collection in support of the Hillary Clinton campaign. Huma Abedin, Clinton’s campaign vice chairwomen, co-hosted the event and Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, also attended. Made for History is mostly comprised of t-shirts and bandanas with logos created by various famous designers including Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg and Tory Burch. They can be purchased for upwards of $25 on Clinton’s website with the proceeds going toward her campaign.
Other designers made more subtle remarks in their collection. In the Pyer Moss runway, models sported classic business pieces, such as pinstripe button downs, double breasted suit jackets, and vests, deconstructed into more casual street wear in a critique on wealth and status. A black lace sweatshirt featured the word “Greed” in bold, gold, varsity letters while a white t-shirt donned the slogan “Come Shake The Money Tree.”
New York Fashion Week runways feature some of the biggest, most renowned names in the fashion industry, which means their opinions cannot be discounted. What is the effect of people like Whoopee Goldberg, Anna Wintour, and Marc Jacobs aligning their names behind specific political parties or candidates?
For me, fashion is an outlet. It’s more than just what you wear – it’s how your clothes represent you and therefore your opinions. That being said, when people of celebrity status make big declarations on specific decisions, like who to vote for, they can easily sway people who may not have come to a decision on their own yet. In a way, it discourages people from educating themselves since the decision is made for them. Regardless, it reminds us that fashion is more than just something you buy. It’s an art form, and designers can use clothes to send a message.