Why fashion & politics go hand-in-hand

Let’s talk fashion shall we.
2017 was the year of the slogan. Whether it was Dior’s female centric ‘we should all be feminists’ t-shirts or Prabal Gurung’s ‘I am an immigrant’ emblazoned on garments, fashion and politics were arguably more prominently entwined than they ever have been this decade (although let’s not forget Naomi Campbell strutting down the runway circa 2003 with ‘use a condom’ in sequins sewn on her Katharine Hamnett ensemble…legend). 
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Throughout history, fashion has been a way in which, women particularly but men also, have expressed their political and socio-cultural views. The ability to express yourself through clothing, one could argue, is almost a form of a non-aggressive protest (literally in terms of the Chanel runway/protest circa 2014).
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Take the 80’s for example. The age of Margaret Thatcher and the power suit. Consumerism was booming, the number of women in the workplace was increasing and people were ‘dressing for success’. Or the classic example of ‘Dior’s new look’ where after years of rationing, out came a huge skirt made with vast quantities of fabric and a cinched waist, it was seen as luxurious. After working in factories and assisting with war time jobs, women wanted to feel glamorous again and Dior nailed it. These are less obvious but no less impactful examples of how fashion and politics go hand-in-hand, always have and always will.
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Over the next year, seasons etc…based upon the current political climate and issues in ethical fashion and sustainability reaching boiling point, it can be assumed that bold statements on the runway and in street style expressing designers viewpoints and consumers political desires will only become more prevalent.
Look at NYFW so far, never has the runway seen so much diversity, but there is more to do, more gaps to fill and more revolutions to start. As Vivienne Westwood said “”I just use fashion as an excuse to talk about politics”.

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