It's no secret that the fashion industry is made up of some very liberally-inclined individuals. As artists and entrepreneurs, fashion's leaders have been at the forefront of activism for LGBTQ+ rights and the fight against HIV/AIDS. Considering the political context of 2016/17, the industry has also made its fair share of anti-Trump commentary, speaking out against the new President's generally xenophobic, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, and ableist point of view. While their means of activism (and consistency; there was noticeable silence in the initial reaction to Trump's Muslim Ban, for one) has been far from perfect, it is worth recognizing the fact that fashion has been considerably outspoken and influential in comparison to other sectors, and as a multi-billion dollar industry, that means a lot. That being said, as the Editor of a fashion-focused online publication, I have often been struck post-election by a feeling of helplessness to use Couturesque as a platform for meaningful, impactful activism beyond merely words. While this continues to be something at the forefront of our staffs' conversations, we have also taken note of the political activities of our peers in the industry, looking to their activist attitudes for inspiration in this time of significant strife. Keep reading to discover 5 ways that fashion industry leaders have stood up to Trumpism, and continue to hold their ground. Want to suggest critiques or ideas for further action? Leave a comment on this article and we will take note of your thoughts.
1. Nordstrom vs. Ivanka
In perhaps this week's biggest fashion and political news, Nordstrom has officially dropped Ivanka Trump's line from retail. While the fashion giant claims that their verdict had to do with poor sales performances (a.k.a. boycotts of the brand that started in November), Donald Trump has responded angrily on Twitter to call the decision "unfair." It is worth noting that Nordstrom also recently tapped Gen-Z photographer and outspoken feminist Petra Collins to shoot their Spring 2017 campaign, saying "I want people to look at this campaign and see themselves, to feel that they have a place in the future." We're not saying that the two are connected, but it could be argued that these small acts show a pattern of politically-charged intentions. Either way, there will definitely be less money headed to Ivanka's bank account now that her brand has been dropped by both Nordstrom and Macy's last year.
2. Models.com Drops a Guide to Political Action
Digital model archive Models.com partnered with 20 year old musician and model Julia Cumming to drop a (very fashionable) film with genuinely helpful tips for calling your local political representatives and staying aware of causes and pertinent topics, even suggesting apps that prompt you to stay engaged. The film takes social media activism and encourages its participants - often young people - to turn their opinions into actionable differences. And it's mega-cute, too.
3. CFDA x Planned Parenthood
Trump has long been adamant that he will defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides access to safe healthcare for 2.5 million primarily women nationwide. The Council of Fashion Designers of America, helmed by Steven Kolb, has worked with Condé Nast to release thousands of pink "Fashion Stands with Planned Parenthood" pins just in time for New York Fashion Week, and is encouraging editors and creatives in the industry to sport them this week and donate to protect PP.
4. BoF's #TiedTogether Campaign
Ok, we'll admit... this sounds a little bit like the whole "safety pin" all over again, wherein 'allies' substitute legitimate, actionable activism for symbolism instead, however, given Business of Fashion's detailed commentary and coverage of progressive topics in fashion, we think that there could be more genuine meaning behind it this time. In brief, the digital publication has called on editors, bloggers, fashion fans, photographers, stylists, and designers, to wear a white bandana to "as a sign to the world that you believe in the common bonds of humankind — regardless of race, sexuality, gender or religion." They have encouraged designers to involve the accessory in their shows at fashion week and prompted photographers to prioritize photographing showgoers seen sporting the bandana. BoF has also suggested donations to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and the United Nations Fund for Refugees as well.
5. Protest Power
Fashion turned up at the Women's March in a serious way, with significant figures in all disciplines within the industry making an appearance at rallies worldwide. From models like our ultimate SJW crush (we mean that in the most complimentary way possible, don't worry) Hari Nef, to Dilone, and Jillian Mercado, to media moguls, designers, and editors like Eva Chen, Aurora James, and others. Fashionista put together a handy list of brands who participated in the march and/or donated proceeds to progressive causes in its honour. Following the ban of individuals from seven Muslim countries (in other words, #MuslimBan), Gigi and Bella Hadid also appeared at a New York City rally in solidarity with the Muslim community.