Considering the inauguration was this morning, the timing of this is quite interesting. Earlier this week, Balenciaga showed their Men’s Autumn/Winter 2017 collection at Paris Fashion Week. If you pay attention to the embroidery on some of the pieces, you may notice a reference to a certain United States political figure: Bernie Sanders.
There are a few slight differences between the two (obviously besides one saying Bernie and the other saying Balenciaga), but the allusion is there. With the current political climate in the United States, it is interesting how more vocal the fashion industry is being with politics over the past year. Anna Wintour gave her and Vogue Magazine’s support to Hillary Clinton during the elections. Tom Ford is refusing to dress Melania Trump. Fashionista.com is choosing to not cover the new First Family’s fashion choices. Vivienne Westwood has been using her runway shows to publicly comment on topics such as environmentalism and political corruption.
One could say that these fashion insiders should stay out of politics and just focus on clothes, but the thing is fashion is and always has been influenced by political world events. The first official New York Fashion Week took place in order to direct American women away from French designers and towards American designers during World War II (Fortini, 2006). The punk fashion of the 70’s and 80’s was an expression of oppositional (and anarchic) views towards the government. The fashion industry in the U.S. alone is valued at $225 billion (Statista).
With that much money being exchanged, government policies can and will directly affect the fashion industry. Fashion and clothing will always reflect the current social and political environment of that time, so it should come to no surprise that these designers, editors, and tastemakers are using their platforms to comment on the society that they live in.
Fortini, A. (2006). A brief history of the fashion show. Slate Magazine. Retrieved 20 January 2017, from http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/fashion/2006/02/how_the_runway_took_off.html
Statista, U.S. “Topic: Apparel Market In The U.S.”. www.statista.com. Web. 20 Jan. 2017, from https://www.statista.com/topics/965/apparel-market-in-the-us/
Featured Image Source: GQ.com