This Brand Is Donating All The Proceeds From Its Protest-Themed Capsule To The ACLU

Photo: Courtesy of Opening Ceremony.
Let's be real: A fashion collection addressing the joys and virtues of a melting pot culture, while always welcome, isn't exactly the most pressing concern in the current political climate. Still, the timing of Opening Ceremony's spring '17 collection, which was directly inspired by photographs of immigrants arriving on Ellis Island in the 19th century, plus the so-called Action capsule is not insignificant. See, the brand presented its spring '17 collection (by way of Justin Peck’s latest ballet, The Times Are Racing, for which Humberto Leon designed the costumes) just one day after president Donald Trump issued an executive action blocking people from seven countries deemed "terror-prone" by the administration, the effects of which were immediately felt and incredibly distressing. However, Opening Ceremony is putting its money (or, rather, its customers' money) where its mouth is, so to speak, by donating the proceeds from some of the pieces seen on stage to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), according to The Fader.

At the ballet, Opening Ceremony seemed to imagine an alternate reality, where difference is celebrated — or, at least one meant to inspire its wearers to take a stand. Spring '17 is rooted in the idea of the meeting (and sharing) of culture, although the brand's interpretation is much more optimistic than what we’re used to hearing from those in power, actually enacting change. Leon and Carol Lim imagine a hopeful, even fantastical journey with their garments, drawing from different aesthetics and silhouettes to highlight just how good these seemingly incongruous styles go together. (Think psychedelic prints on kimono-style jackets, macramé meets cowl necks, and so on). If that messaging is a little too subtle, the Action capsule, which was shown as part of spring ’17 and is worn by some of Peck’s dancers in The Times Are Racing, drives the message home: hoodies and T-shirts emblazoned with verbs like "Defy," "Protest," and "Unite," which Lim note embody "what it means to be an American,” according to a statement.
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Photo: Courtesy of Opening Ceremony.
Photo: Courtesy of Opening Ceremony.
In an interview with Vogue, Leon admitted that this theme became more poignant to them as designers after the election. "There was more of a sense of urgency, a need to speak out," he explained. Slogans are much more direct way to do that, of course — but these particular graphics felt all the more pressing at the show, as the very words worn by the dancers onstage were being lived out by protestors across the country, almost simultaneously. "We call them action words," Leon told The Hollywood Reporter of the capsule. "With all these amazing kids onstage, it was about empowering youth and giving youth a voice. Those pieces were meant to be this call to action, the idea of giving freedom to each and every individual."
For some designers, the timing of all of this would present an uncomfortable symmetry, especially given how many fashion brands have been notably silent in light of the increasingly worrisome actions of the newly-inaugurated government (the travel ban in particular). It’s not the Opening Ceremony way to be a passive observer, though: We're talking about the label that used its allotted slot on the New York Fashion Week calendar last September to remind the fashion flock to go vote, and that designed a collection of global varsity jackets meant to represent (and celebrate) all different countries.

Considering the message it’s pushing for spring ’17, Opening Ceremony is once again using its platform for good by giving all the profits from its Action capsule (which will surely sell out, given that everything's under-$100) to the ACLU. And it’ll continue to pay all the proceeds forward until the pieces are out of stock, according to a representative for the brand.

Opening Ceremony may have opted out of the official New York Fashion Week calendar, but let's hope this sets a precedent for all the labels presenting new collections later this month to not shy away from taking a stand.


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