When you think of fashion, straight away your mind goes to clothes. But is fashion simply about that, or is it about more? Can fashion be political?
The way in which the world is now, a lot of pressure is put upon fast fashion and following trends. Right or wrong, this means that everyone is always (even subconsciously) on the lookout for what everyone else is wearing. A lot of people are also initially attracted to their partners based upon their sense of style (they know how to get ready in the morning, I want that one. Very caveman). If you’re wearing something that makes you stand out from the crowd, something bold and unusual, something that doesn’t fit in with or belong to current trends, then you’re bound to turn a few heads. So, in theory, if you’re looking to make a political statement, shock a few people and maybe even turn their hair grey, fashion seems to be the way to go in terms of getting yourself noticed by a lot of people.
To be honest, fashion has been a way to make a political statement for a VERY long time. Fashion is a way to rebel, to take matters into your own hands, to show your support for a cause and try and make a change. Look back through history at the women who rebelled against the norms of wearing corsets and dresses and chose to wear trousers instead, even though they were seens as odd, because why not? Why can’t women wear trousers? It didn’t make sense back then, and it 100% doesn’t make sense now. The black panthers who used fashion to make a statement, to resist new rules forced upon them and gain back power.
Countless people in the public eye still, to this day, use fashion to make their political views known to the world. For example, Stormzy in 2016, wore a stab proof vest made by banksy to Glastonbury and wore it on stage to bring attention to Britain’s knife crisis, but also to raise awareness for the racially motivated and unfair way black men are blamed and condemned for this, welcoming the black lives matter movement to one of the biggest events in the country. The pussy riot pussy hats that became a HUGE symbol for women’s rights, which beautifully coincided with the women’s march in 2017. Unfortunately, some political fashion pieces don’t always send out the right message, now this will depend on your opinion of a certain individual, but Trump’s “make American great again” (Maga) hats are another example of how fashion plays into politics. Maga hats became popular in 2016 to show support to Trump in the election, however to many people across the world, they are seen as a symbol of racism and intolerance (unsurprising, as lets be honest, a lot of his supporters are).
In the end though, it doesn’t matter whether the political statement being made is good or bad, or whether you agree with it or not, it’s safe to say that fashion is not only political, but it is extremely powerful.