By: Jessie Yu
Photos by: Isabel Lord
From the 1920’s feminist movement that cast out girdles, to controversial catwalks, to college clothing, politics and fashion have always strutted hand in hand.
In 2000, Madeleine Albright donned a large, bedazzled, American flag pin during her visit to North Korea to meet Kim Jong Un. At the time, it was quite the controversy. However, nowadays Albright’s once radical symbolism is an understatement compared to the boldness with which political ideals are loudly worn on people’s sleeves. Particularly in light of the recent presidential race, fashion has become a medium through which to make blatant political statements.
With the election of Donald Trump, political fashion is losing subtlety (e.g. Raul Solis’s “Fuck Your Wall” NY Fashion Week underwear) and gaining popularity. From Dior’s “We Should All Be Feminists” shirt to R13’s “FUCK TRUMP” dress, the trend reflects a generation that has no secrets, one that vlogs their daily lives from wake to sleep and posts essay-long Facebook rants that share their innermost thoughts.
Despite the undeniable presence of politics on the runway, the trend largely began with the masses. Trump’s popular “Make America Great Again” hats have been a staple among his supporters since he first uttered the slogan.
It took little time for the trend to cross the aisle. The day after inauguration, the Pussyhatproject organized pink hats to be made, distributed, and sold for the Women’s March. As handmade items, these hats were literally made by the masses, for the masses.
In fashion, there are thousands of trends too unreasonable to accommodate the common working person. The average woman can simply not live her life in 5 inch heels and a PVC skirt. The political fashion trend therefore stands out because it is tailored to the people. It was really only after the recent election that top runways incorporated politics so broadly and explicitly in their collections. The progression of this bottom-up trend in part reflects its very message: the power is in the hands of the common people, not wealthy elites. For once, top designers are following a trend instead of creating it.
From the classrooms of Georgetown to the red carpet of the Oscars, sporting political opinions is an undeniable trend. Growing more bold and blatant by the day, this fashion moment defies the age old etiquette to never bring up politics. Rather, it shouts, “I’ll tell you exactly who I am and what I believe. Judge me, I dare you.”
JESSIE YU is a sophomore in the College, studying International Relations with a minor in Business Administration. Hailing from New York City, she enjoys what her mom likes to call “grandma hobbies” such as knitting, baking, collaging, enjoying nature, and scaring people. Even so, she considers herself a “cool grandma” who advocates for women’s rights, religious freedom, and environmental conservation.