5 Instagrams That Prove Fashion Editors SHOULD Talk Politics

Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images.
This season of New York Fashion Week has been one of the most political in recent memory. After the industry had by and large aligned itself with Hillary Clinton, it reckoned with the fact that she had not only lost, but also that she lost to someone who disagrees with most of its values. This has translated into a somewhat awkward relationship with the new First Family, and an inconsistent response to contentious policy issues. But with all eyes turned to New York as the fall '17 collections rolled out this week, designers have used the spotlight to bring attention to what they believe in, some more subtly than others: the feminist finale at Prabal Gurung, the Ellis voiceover at Monse/Oscar de la Renta, the Women's March opening at Mara Hoffman...the list goes on. 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.
Christene Barberich, Refinery29's global editor-in-chief and co-founder, on how one coat from Raf Simons' debut at Calvin Klein summed up the show's study (and celebration) of America.

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

A post shared by Christene Barberich (@christenebarberich) on

Stella Bugbee, The Cut's editorial director, on when her earliest memories of personal style, and why it's significant now.
Rachael Wang, Allure's fashion director, on how street style can become a platform for political action.
Cipriana Quann, writer and model, on why it's meaningful that Mara Hoffman used her show to create space for the Women's March.
Imran Amed, Business of Fashion's founder and CEO, on how his publication's #TiedTogether initiative went from optics to actual fundraising — and how to keep the momentum going.

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