The field of fashion directly responds to society—these moments are made in response to relevant world events.
Fashion is a reactionary field. It reflects and conforms to what is happening in its surroundings. Instances like the Industrial Revolution were when women shifted from skirts to pants. Also, the underground club kid culture emerged, where androgyny and camp were born and later adopted by mainstream fashion lines. Fashion always reacts to society; thus, activism and fashion, when they come together, create moments etched out in history.
Fashion Activism is defined as a sociopolitical action that can positively impact the environment, economy, politics, and society. Moreover, it becomes more regenerative as fashion designers and everyone in the fashion industry actively use their talents to better the social, political, economic, and environmental situations. Recently, there have been moments in the fashion industry where a key figure in the business speaks up for a cause. These are some of the fashion activism moments.
Bella and Gigi Hadid speak out about Palestine
Bella and Gigi are the new generation of supermodels. The sisters walked for multiple high-fashion designers countless times, cementing their spots as models to watch out for. Furthermore, their beauty and influence do not stop on runways in photoshoots—they also use their reach to raise awareness. The Hadid sisters are half-Palestinian—their father, Mohamed Anwar Hadid, was born to a Palestinian Muslim family.
With that said, Bella and Gigi are not afraid to speak up about the current situation in Palestine. Bella even once said in a speech, “I’m not afraid to lose modeling jobs & I will continue to speak up on Palestine.” They use their influence as supermodels to inform people about the struggles and the human rights violations that Palestinians are currently experiencing in Gaza.
Balenciaga F/W 2022
Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia dedicated the Fall/Winter 2022 show to Ukraine. “This show needs no explanation, it is a dedication to fearlessness, to resistance, and the victory of love and peace,” said Demna. Having a post-apocalyptic theme, the collection was a response to the then-current socio-political climate the world was experiencing. Moreover, Demna created the collection in response to the conflict that triggered his trauma when he was a kid—he too is a refugee and a victim of war.
“We Should All Be Feminist” Dior T-Shirt
Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior’s creative director, is a vocal feminist. Her collections are love letters for every woman. In her debut collection for Dior, people were expecting a new design identity for the esteemed brand, however, what Chiuri showed was far greater. The creative director sent out a message by creating a slogan T-shirt, emblazoned with the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie quote “We should all be feminists.” Furthermore, her passion and tenacity in uplifting women doesn’t stop at slogan shirts, she also helps them by partnering with women artisans for her shows and collections.
Banner photo via Instagram @gigihadid.