MINDFUL FASHION (WEEK)
It's difficult to talk about New York Fashion Week without mentioning London. That's why We've been putting off writing a NYFW review knowing there will be a dialogue coming from the other side of an ocean. This was proved to be right but in its own peculiar way which we intend to explain in this blog:
Have you ever visited one city abroad and thought to yourself how much it reminds you of another? It’s called déjà visité and it was precisely what we felt during LFW.
There was an omnipresent feeling of uncertainty, confusion and frustration that you could only compare with what a lot of people experienced during NYFW.
As a result, what was apparent throughout both weeks — has been social and political activism. The sister cities have both spilled their feelings onto the runways and made a statement. Surprisingly it was not a joint statement.
Show: MARA HOFFMAN
Case in point: The New York designer was inspired by the founders of Women's March on Washington and even invited them to her show to make opening statements.
It all started with the Words of Tamika D. Mallory:
"We work peacefully while recognising that there is no true peace until there is justice and equity for all. Hear our voice”.
This quote clicks with the political aspect but it's worth mentioning that Mara started working towards more conscious and sustainable fashion two years ago. It would definitely make political tees more sincere but you won't find them in this collection. Instead of slogan there were vivid monochromes presented on beautiful contemporary dancers of all races and ages. The choice of models this season was not accidental and spoke volumes. She did good.
Show: PRABAL GURUNG, CHRISTAN SIRIANO, CREATURES OF COMFORT
Case in Point: Slogan T-shirts.
Gurung's verbalised his political message through white bandanas.
T-shirts that said "Revolution Has No Borders" and "The Future is Female".
Designer himself then appeared in a tee that read "This is What A Feminist Looks Like".
Slogan tees are hardly a new trend, they're probably even less groundbreaking than flowers for spring.
We've seen them already in September shows, when Maria Grazia Chiuri in her first runway show as the creative director of Christian Dior, sent her models covered in slogan that read: "We should all be feminists".
And it wasn't the strongest point of that Fashion Week either. Back then people were still more excited about reinterpretation of silhouettes than political activism.
Something has changed after Donald Trump’s inauguration and during this year’s Fashion Week, statement tees spilled onto the runways.
Christian Siriano addressed the political situation by sending Jasmine Poulton on the runway wearing “People Are People”.
The connotation here is quite obvious: People are People is a 1984 single that became Depeche Mode's breakthrough hit in the United States. Song conveys a message that people shouldn't judge one another.
Given this message, it makes sense that the T-shirt is linked to a similarly aligned cause: All profits from the sales of this shirt will be donated to the ACLU - American Civil Liberties Union. Subtle yet powerful way to weigh in the political conversation.
Creatures of Comfort clearly don't support the immigration ban. The proof was strutting down the catwalk dressed in vocal sweatshirts. Horror font typography and takes off the edge from rather serious political statement part of the design.
It's fair to mention a designer being the original idea of slogans in high fashion. I would need to take you back to London, 1983. The movement seemed to start with Katherine Hamnett’s 'Choose Life'.
I wonder if she imagined the scale of how widely she'll be copied.
She said herself: “I wanted to design something that would make me happy if it was copied, and gave me—and anybody who cared—a voice.”
Show: TOMMY HILFIGER, TYKOON
Designer himself had a white bandana tied to the back of his jeans.
Surprisingly, it was Hilfiger who stated not so long ago that designers should not to be political about dressing Melania Trump and that every designer should be proud to dress her.
"human unity and inclusiveness amidst growing uncertainty and a dangerous narrative peddling division."
NYFW left me thinking that we might be at the brink of change and most of the NY designers use their fashion as a platform to take part in social injustices.
Inevitably for others it will be commerce's new outfit where a white bandana is just another 'it' accessory. The task is to tell one from another.
London hasn’t had to weigh in because it chose to focus less on politics more on inclusiveness making the whole event a lot more wearable yet not less significant.
It's the last AW Fashion Week before Brexit and capital becomes a rather pragmatic spirit.Yet if you were looking for light relief from the world’s moral issues you'd have been disappointed.
Inclusiveness has been at the heart of British fashion that brought designs you wanted to wear because they represent diversity (not because you want to get photographed in them).
I’m thinking specifically of the following; Ashnish, Fashion East, Teatum Jones and Simone Rocha.
Show: SIMONE ROCHA
Point in case: Age. A mindful choice of models represents the newest collection by Simone Rocha:
“I've played with the idea of masculinity and femininity, including the way we have cast the show, inclusive of different types of women.” We could see models in their 50s, 60s and 70s swaying ever so slightly in flowery dressed paired with heavy coats. There was no aesthetic clash here which only highlights that such sightings on the catwalk should be more common.
Show: TEATUM JONES, FASHION EAST
Point in case: Body. Designer duo of Cathrine Teatum and Rob Jones decided to work with every aspect of the human form.
Beautiful satin garments in mustard yellow, orange and midnight blue were sported by the diverse set of models; two of them being disabled. Kelly Knox, who was born without the lower left of her right arm and Jack Eyre’s who had his leg amputated when he was 16.
Fashion East’s four-part AW17 offering featured Winnie Harlow who has vitiligo; another example of catwalk casting that just felt more considered and inclusive.
Case in point: Trump.
Ashnish was the only show at LFW that had heavy political undertones. LOVE TRUMPS HATE themed collection filled with uplifting hues, hopeful messages and joy.
Having a distinct political voice has become such a celebrated element of fashion week. If we look at all these examples of fashion from LFW and NYFW, they're a beautiful celebration of garments that actually make us feel a lot better. They do so reminding us to be kind, to know self-worth and to 'stay woke'.
We hope they will live up to their evocative designs past the season. It is for the sake of fashion that is more mindful and interactive.
Maybe for a better world, even.
One could hope that other will follow and be more transparent with who they are.