What is the color of ambition? Pink, if you ask Instagram. Specifically, ask the dozens of female celebrities and activists who have repped a shocking fuchsia suit by the clothing line Argent and they will let you know: “loud and proud” is the hue of this moment.
Last week Argent launched its Election collection, which includes a $250 top and $150 trousers. (Both are currently backordered.) Some of the profits will benefit Supermajority, a women’s advocacy group.
The brand, which has dressed Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Hillary Clinton, enlisted celebs like Kerry Washington, Amy Sedaris, and Marisa Tomei to model the suit on Instagram. With that, a new means of #Resistance-wear was born.
“We think this is the time for women to boldly own our collective power,” Argent founder Sali Christeson told Fast Company. “We wanted to create a visual representation of this power.” (A representative from the brand did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.)
There is nothing subtle about the attention-demanding color. But when it comes to sartorial campaigning, the pink suit is much less literal than the endless VOTE merch that clogs social media feeds as America steamrolls toward election day. And it is undoubtedly more stylish than most election year clothing options, which tend to skew decidedly dorky.
A $400 suit cannot reach the true supermajority of American woman—it is too expensive for that. Ultimately, Argent pulled off a successful ad campaign. Wearing a pink suit, and doing nothing else, is not activism.
But like Pantsuit Nation and the pink pussy hats of 2016, the tailored piece succeeds as a visual movement. You probably won’t see it around the real world—who’s dressing up these days, anyway?—but its online ubiquity means enough on its own.
Even if your eyes are not peeled to the Instagram feeds of “powerful women,” you might have noticed another pink suit that went very viral last week—the one Savannah Guthrie wore to interview Donald Trump at NBC’s Town Hall.
Don’t get your hopes up: it was not courtesy Argent. “She’s had this suit in her wardrobe for years, and she’s worn it on the show and in interviews,” a source told the New York Post. “There’s no significance to it—she just knows what looks good on a set.” They added that the same suit has graced episodes of Today sporadically since 2018.
“There is no doubt that non-verbal communication continues to be a really powerful tool,” Lauren A. Rothman, a fashion consultant based in D.C., said. “That’s something I talk about all the time—how much you can be saying before you start talking. I think this pink Argent suit is one of those examples.”
Argent has several notable political placements since its founding in 2017. It has found fans in Huma Abedin and Katie Porter campaign manager Erica Kwiatkowski. Rothman said her clients love the suit’s deep pockets and the fact that the material “travels well.”
“People wonder how you get your clothing on a politician,” Rothman explained. “That’s a really tough thing to achieve. So much of a politician’s wardrobe isn’t planned in advance to align itself with brands.”
The pink suit was modeled on celebrities, not politicians, though the messaging was inherently partisan. “The suit didn’t have to be worn at a debate, it was just worn by people encouraging you to vote,” Rothman added. “As a result, Argent becomes part of the 2020 conversation—they are the conversation.”
Doris Domoszlai-Lantner, a fashion historian from New York, says that the suits recall both 1980s power dressing and present-day pink pussy hats. She also sees some more antiquated references: “It makes me think of Paul Poiret’s harem pants from the 1910s, which coincided with the suffragette movement and made it slightly more acceptable for women to wear pants at that time,” Domoszlai-Lantner said.
She added that she feels “divided” between labeling the color magenta or fuchsia. Both hues are very similar. “But technically, magenta is literally right between red and blue on the color wheel,” Domoszlai-Lantner noted. “So it’s that middle point that can speak to Democrats or Republicans, if you want to be PC about the color choice. Obviously, the political messaging behind how [Argent] is specifically using it is more liberal. But this could help to subconsciously bring women who were considering voting one way to a different conclusion.”
Whatever you want to name it, this is definitely not the placid, dreamy millennial pink that was everywhere pre-2016. (Or the soft rose dress seen last week on Amy Coney Barrett during her SCOTUS Senate hearing.) “Millennial pink was very cute,” Domoszlai-Lantner said. “This is not that kind of pink.”
There is something urgent about the Argent suit, which makes sense for something that launched during the last gasps of this frantic election year. Domoszlai-Lantner noted that white and purple were the colors of the suffragette movement. (Hillary Clinton famously wore a purple collar for her concession speech.)
“Purple is very similar to this pink, but this pink is so much more vibrant,” she said. “I feel like that’s because women right now feel like it’s important to make that message, maybe even more so than back then. During the suffragette movement, it was about gaining rights. Now, we’re at stake to lose them. So in terms of color choices, maybe you need to draw more attention to the potential of losing so much.”