These sorts of showings are another means of giving visibility to timely, important political causes. Yes, some questions can be raised regarding intent: what's opportunistic and what's genuine? Is it enough to simply show (or wear) "feminist" paraphernalia, if no tangible follow-up actions are taken? How do you go about predicting fall '17 trends and doing business as usual when the immediate future feels so uncertain at times?
One thing's for sure: There are a lot of eyeballs on the shows, presentations, and images that come out of these seven days — and that presents a unique opportunity for show-goers to supplement their pretty runway pictures with thoughtful commentary and analysis about how fashion can (and should) address the political climate. And beyond the runway, the way we dress has been utilized as a powerful form of political expression since (and leading up to) the 2016 election, whether that's through the resilience of pantsuits or the unpacking of gendered style conventions. With each new collection, designers interpret their surroundings, and imagine how their customers are reacting to them — and those seeing the clothes, in turn, find meaning in how those ideas have been rendered through clothing and how they're presented. While most front-row dispatches are brief (a few words, maybe some hashtags, possibly an emoji), some editors have used social media to react in real time. And by doing so, they've let us in on how a designer's political act, an editor's white bandana, or the act of simply being present can lead to something much greater.
We still have a lot to unpack about how designers chose to address these hot-button issues. The industry also needs to address how it'll act in this highly-politicized environment (not to mention, how it will be affected by the policies of the current administration) once the cameras have turned away. In the meantime, though, we've spotted plenty of thought-starters, courtesy of some of most respected editors in the industry.
Below, check out some of the most poignant, thoughtful responses to NYFW we've seen on social media this season.
I know a lot of the people that are kind enough to follow me here on good old @instagram (thank you!) don't tend to go bananas over runway shots, but this one, in particular, symbolizes so much more than just a fashion show, it's the debut of Raf Simons for Calvin Klein and it deserves a minute for reflection. This was arguably the most anticipated show of the season...hell, the whole year, and Simons' takeover of what I believe is the most historic, influential, and transcendent American fashion brand came at a time when America is in turmoil--as is the fashion industry itself. He chose the soundtrack carefully, opening with "This is not America," David Bowie's haunting theme to the 80s film, The Falcon and the Snowman, a story about corruption, lies, deception, and, most importantly, espionage. It was an emotional and eery backdrop for the opening looks, which began to tell the unfolding story of Calvin Klein's latest revival...a study in American craftmaking, workwear denim, 80s primary colors, and most beautifully, the further exploration of gender (imagine a floral chiffon layer fixed upon a sturdy tweed coat). But I chose this shot, especially, because, here in this beautiful coat, Raf and his team have reimagined the American quilt...a tradition that traces back to colonial days, when families came together to sew symbolic imagery of their homes, their families, their heritages...to pass down to future generations of Americans who were proud to call this magnificent country our home...a New World for everyone, not just the privileged. A lot of people say that fashion and politics have no inherent connection, but they do...they must, because we need a show like this to shake us out of our daily Orwellian despair, to see some beauty and art but also to see how precious the time we are living in now really is. Our actions matter, what we cherish matters, and we are not alone in our will to protect what is ours, what is yours, what is the soul of America. Thank you @calvinklein and Raf Simons for the experience...we're so glad you're here. @r29fashion #r29fw #unstyled #dressfortherevolution
Today kicks off New York Fashion Week. Here's a thought: My first awareness of style came about when I was five years old, living in Washington DC during the Reagan administration. DC was the global epicenter of preppy, conservative clothing (still is). But it had both thriving punk and gay scenes, as well as a huge black community that were not interested (or invited to participate) in "fitting in" with the dominant dress code. Even as a little kid I could tell that how you dress and how you present yourself to the world sends valuable signals about your relationship to the elite, to power, to politics. Fashion can be painfully shallow. It can also be a tool, a medium, and a middle finger to those who seek to oppress us. I'm certainly not going to pretend that getting dressed is enough of a political action in and of itself, but I do hope that the fashion community harnesses some of their incredible potential and doesn't back off from giving us some things to chew on. #nyfw #dresslikeawoman
💦 W A T E R I S L I F E 💦 Dear @nycmayor I want to live in a city that supports indigenous rights, dignity and treaties. I want to live in a city that stands up against government intimidation and violence. I want to live in a city that is a climate leader that divests from fossil fuel. I am asking you, as a proud New Yorker, to please divest New York from banks investing in DAPL, Sabah Trail, and other pipelines that will contribute to climate change and the destruction of sacred land. Clean water is a human right. With love on this Valentine's Day, Rachael C. Wang (Link in bio if you care to send a love note to Mayor de Blasio too💋) #nodapl #divestdapl
Wow...absolutely blown away by the @marahoffman's SS17 collection. Besides an amazing collection, as woman and a woman of color, it was absolutely incredible to see a designer set a statement in a no misunderstanding, in your face way. Mara you are beautiful inside and out, as a designer thank you for setting the precedence in what really matters during New York Fashion week, in such a bold undeniable way!!! ▫️▫️▫️ Stay tuned for more as @tk_wonder and I share more of the collection and performances. ▫️▫️▫️ #NYFW #MaraHoffman #SS17 ▫️▫️▫️
Carmen Busquets has pledged $10,000 to ACLU (@aclu_nationwide) and UNHCR (@unrefugees) as part of #tiedtogether. We are trying to reach a total of 10,000 #tiedtogether posts on Instagram this Fashion Month. For each #tiedtogether post, our donors and benefactors will pledge $5 to the #tiedtogether campaign for a target of $50,000. It's this simple: The more you post, the more money we raise together. Visit tiedtogether.businessoffashion.com to make a donation. [link in bio]. Thank you @carmen.busquets @carmenbusquetsdotcom!