Anyone who thinks that fashion & politics have nothing to do is wrong. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
The presence of politics in fashion is of paramount importance. Both as a form of manifestation and as a form of industry regulation.
For this article, we spoke with Hilary Jochmans, Founder of PoliticallyInFashion. She gave light on the importance of political legislation concerning fashion as well as the importance of letting industry agents know about that.
Keep reading to learn!
Fashion & Politics: A Two-Way Street
Fashion As a Tool For Political Manifestations
Nothing passes through history unscathed. In the globalized world in which we live, it is difficult to imagine anything that is not constantly impacted by political, economic, social and ecological events. And, of course, with fashion, it would be no different.
Whether as a reflection of social changes or a tool for political manifestation, fashion has an incomparable power and no one disputes this.
A highly profitable industry that works with haute couture, raises models to stardom, and creates consumer dreams; at the same time, it carries a symbolic narrative marked by acts of struggle and activism that contributed to the formation of society as we know it today.
In 1968, for example, when the world was bubbling with thousands of protests and opposition, a protest in the United States caught attention. About 100 women gathered in front of the theater where the Miss America contest took place to free themselves from instruments of oppression: bras, high heels, corsets, girdles and even beauty products. Hence the famous story of burning the bra, which happened only symbolically, as the city government prevented any pyrotechnics.
Many of the participants, while questioning patriarchy, sported their controversial miniskirts. The event was part of a decade of much questioning, which inspired desires for freedom during the 1970s.
As an act of residence, women throughout history used fashion to express their political position. Much before the “Future is Female” tee boom, ladies such as Queen Marie Antoniette and feminist leaders used subversive pieces and accessories to show society what they were against and in favor of.
A recent example is the Time’s Up movement. Raised by Hollywood actresses, directors and producers, it denounced sexual abuse and harassment in the middle. They unanimously displayed black outfits during the 2018 Golden Globes ceremony to reinforce the message.
Another situation was the inauguration of US Vice President Kamala Harris. The media spoke a lot about the variety of outfits used by those present, most of them designed by female and black artists. Another highlight was the wide variety of clothes in different shades of purple that the guests and Mrs. Vice president wore.
Specialists recalled that the color referred to the suffragette movement. It wasn’t the first time that Kamala’s fashion had attracted attention. During the campaign, she broke protocols by combining her pantsuits with All-Star Converse, bringing the idea of a more modern and progressive politics.
MET Gala 2021
We could go on and on about different historical moments in which celebrities, protesters and politicians used clothing to express an opinion. However, another huge highlight was last year’s MET Gala.
Different from this year, in 2021 many celebrities used the red carpet to manifest themselves. Billie Elish’s no fur or gown dress, Alex Ocasio’s “Tax the rich” outfit, etc. We did an analysis on our Instagram profile. Check below!
Fashion In Politics
Regulation, legislation, control and improvements. The non-fashion industry is not – or at least shouldn’t be – a lawless land.
Fashion & politics must come hand-in-hand, but, unfortunately, that’s not how things work. At least, not yet.
As stated by Fashion Revolution, the fashion industry “was largely left off the agenda at COP26”. We don’t often see a lot of new legislation to regulate the fashion industry’s actions and environmental damage. But, this is extremely important and for sure a positive step towards building a better industry.
That’s why Hilary Jochmans founded PoliticallyInFashion. The community for all fashion agents focused on spreading the word about legislative and regulatory issues of key importance to the industry.
Its mission is to educate individuals on public policy; and empower them with this knowledge; to then engage with elected representatives on how these issues impact companies and consumers.
Recent initiatives from PoliticallyInFashion include spearheading advocacy for the creation of a Fashion Czar in the US and a Call to Action for the Federal Trade Commission to update the Green Guides, a federal regulation designed to assist businesses in making lawful environmental marketing claims and the public in understanding and appreciating these statements.
Hilary submitted the Green Guides 101 in 2021. She recently spoke with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and there are no updates yet on its review process. However, the public will have opportunities to engage and share views once the review process begins.
To stay informed and learn more about the importance of politics in the fashion industry, subscribe to their bi-monthly newsletter.
Learn about the social & environmental impact of fast fashion!