The Fashion Industry is Trying to Address Politics

Just in time for fashion week…

02.08.17
FASHION-US-ALTUZARRA

Earlier this week, the CFDA announced its Fashion Stands With Planned Parenthood campaign, which takes the form of a pink lapel pin, designed by Condé Nast Creative Group, “which they hope will be worn by designers and models, and which will be distributed to front-row denizens [of New York Fashion Week].” The impetus is to raise awareness on the part of Planned Parenthood, which is currently at risk of being defunded by the federal government.

Yesterday, Altuzarra announced it will be auctioning off two tickets to its Fall/Winter 2017 show (taking place this coming Sunday), with all proceeds going to Planned Parenthood. The brand explained via Instagram: “We stand with Planned Parenthood.” There’s no note of whether this was related to or inspired by the CFDA push.

And then this morning, Business of Fashion announced its own campaign: the #TiedTogether movement, which encourages people in the global fashion community to wear a white bandana to “make a clear statement in support of solidarity, human unity and inclusiveness.”

These campaigns arrive on the heels of some criticism as to where the big names in fashion stand on the political issues currently dominating news cycles (and news feeds and the parts of our brains that process stress and anger). Within 48 hours of the immigration ban last week, WWD published a story declaring the fashion industry’s silence on the issue “deafening.” 48 hours! Deafening! The pressure is on. The expectation is that the voices of these companies must be more than raised. They must be loud, effective and genuine, too.

“[W]hile there is a notable, and growing, swell of support for such initiatives,” reports Business of Fashion, referring to campaigns like #TiedTogether, “there are still executives from several major public companies reticent to speak out — even in an apolitical way — in fear of alienating an already-shrinking customer base in an extremely challenged selling environment.”

When a business decides to makes a political statement, it’s not just about business or marketing or altruism. It’s a messy combination of all three. Maybe that’s why we seldom come across ones that really hit home. But whereas media blasts leave a bad taste, silence feels even scarier. So what do we want? What would help right now? I’m still sorting out my feelings on the topic and I’m curious to hear what you think.

Photo by TREVOR COLLENS for AFP via Getty Images

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