Hillary Clinton didn’t attend any fashion shows last season, several months before the election, but hers was the biggest name at New York Fashion Week. On the eve of the first presentations, Vogue’s Anna Wintour co-hosted a fundraiser for Clinton with her first aid Huma Abedin and daughter Chelsea. Guests wore “Made for History” T-shirts, which were created by 15 designers—Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, Joseph Altuzarra, and others—and sold on Clinton’s campaign website.
Needless to say, the fashion industry was decidedly #WithHer—hardly surprising, given that the industry has always been socially and politically progressive. (Think Raf Simons’s spring 2002 collection, “Woe Unto Those Who Spit on the Fear Generation… the Wind Will Blow It Back,” which riffed on our post-9/11 culture.)
Now that Trump’s in the White House, the fashion world has aligned itself with the resistance movement. And if the political messaging on display at New York Fashion Week: Men’s is any indication—from the #RefugeesWelcome signs at designer Robert James’s protest-as-presentation to newcomer Willy Chavaria’s casting call for “Mexican, sexy wet back, fearless immigrant” models with an “intolerance for hate”—womenswear designers will use the runway to make political statements, too.
On Monday, the CFDA—which organizes New York Fashion Week—announced a partnership with Planned Parenthood, which will lose federal funding under the Trump administration if Republicans’ attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act is successful.
Thousands of pink “Fashion Stands With Planned Parenthood” pins will be worn by more than 40 womenswear designers and gifted to their front row guests this week. “By creating a visually engaging and fashionable pin, we hope to create an organic social media movement promoting awareness and education,” designer Tracy Reese said in a CFDA statement.
The Business of Fashion has also launched a #TiedTogether campaign calling on the fashion community to wear a white bandana signaling solidarity with the resistance movement—a symbol of “unity and inclusiveness amidst growing uncertainty and a dangerous political narrative peddling division on both sides of the Atlantic,” according to a statement announcing the initiative. Tommy Hilfiger, Thakoon, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and Diane von Furstenberg are among the designers who will be sporting white bandanas next week.
Likewise Prabal Gurung, who was seen having dinner with Huma Abedin in New York City earlier this week.
Not all designers are anti-Trump: fur designer Dennis Basso has signaled his openness to dressing Melania as first lady (having also designed for Ivana and Ivanka), while Ralph Lauren designed Melania’s inauguration outfit. Tommy Hilfiger has spoken out in support of her too.
Beyond the anti-Trump slogan tees and other visual displays of solidarity (look out for safety pins, a popular postelection accessory signaling support for minorities targeted by the Trump administration), other designers will likely contribute to the political dialogue with less on-the-nose references.
For instance, Balenciaga’s menswear show featured “Balenciaga” and “2017”-printed tees, bomber jackets, and blanket scarves in the style of Bernie Sanders’s campaign logo. The message was loud but also open to interpretation.
We can expect to see #resist messages from designers like Rachel Comey, Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, Opening Ceremony, and Maria Cornejo, all of whom participated in the Women’s March.
(Bonus points to whoever comes up with the most stylish interpretation of the ubiquitous pink pussy hat.)
Indeed, in a statement to the Daily Beast, Cornejo said: “When one group’s basic human rights are threatened, it affects us all. Planned Parenthood provides health care, family planning and medical education for women and men who might not otherwise have access to this coverage. As an industry that celebrates and embraces so many types of people, it’s important that we voice our opinions and visually show our support right now. Silence is not an option.”