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FASHIONING A POLITICAL VOICE

 
 

Being opinionated and vocal is something that we're all being encouraged to be when it comes to society and topical issues, but fashion's showing us an alternative way in which we can all express our voice.

With President Trump doing and saying whatever the hell he likes, North Korea threatening nuclear action on a weekly basis and minority groups facing abuse and persecution on a global scale, it's safe to say that we're living in pretty harrowing times. We'd all like to think that someday this dystopian nightmare will just blow over and become a thing of the past, but unfortunately there's no indication that this nightmarish situation will end anytime soon.

With so much controversy surrounding day-to-day life, we're being encouraged, perhaps now more than ever to develop our own opinions on topical issues, voices that could shape the world that we live in. But if you're not into marching and waving witty placards, are there any alternative ways to protest? ASOS seems to think so as it's collaboration with GLAAD highlights how fashion and politics can become intertwined, helping to 'bridge the gap between style and activism'.

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GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation started out in 1985 in response to the slanderous coverage of HIV and AIDS. Their goal: to accelerate the 'acceptance for the LGBTQ community' and create a 'world where everyone can live the life they love.' Unfortunately, despite the great efforts of the LGBTQ+ community and it's supporters, the world is far from being 100% accepting, let alone 100% supportive of non-heterosexuals and other minority groups. This is where fashion can help; by utilising the hype that surrounds collaborations in the fashion world, social and political movements are rallying much-needed support in the 'fight against discrimination'.

As a unisex capsule collection, the ASOS x GLAAD collaboration has clearly taken inspiration from the rainbow flag, a multicoloured representation of the LGBTQ community designed by Gilbert Baker who sadly died earlier this year. Short and long-sleeve T-shirts, black, white and baby pink in colour bear the collaboration's '&' logo, a symbol that represents the resistance against discrimination and hate through the power of the voice.

Other garments that make up this limited-edition range include oversized sweatshirts with multi-coloured 'unity &' embroidery, printed hoodies, ampersand silver jewellery and canvas tote bags. For the campaign, a few famous faces leant their support, with items being modelled by Tommy Dorfman, perhaps best-known for his role in '13 Reasons Why', the writer Adam Eli and singer-songwriter Khalid. Unlike most fashion collaborations though, you won't have to give an arm and a leg to get in on the action as prices range from £8 - £30. What's even better is that with every purchase, £5 is donated to GLAAD, aiding it's work to re-write 'the script for LGBTQ+ acceptance'.

Fashion's proving to be a formidable force when it comes to critical commentary and has been a useful tool for political and social movements for years now. The British designer Vivienne Westwood is known for her outspoken views on the establishment, greedy bankers and fracking companies, using her craft and brand to encourage topical debates and general "chaos". Away from her design studio, she has actively supported campaigns such as The Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment, the alliance that used the 'REPEAL' sweatshirt to highlight the ongoing fight for bodily autonomy and abortion rights in Northern Ireland.

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Prada's another brand that's intertwined fashion and politics. At the brand's spring/summer womenswear show back in September of this year, Miuccia Prada referred to the regression of female rights under President Trump's leadership, stating “In our condition as women I feel we should really stand combative", finding “Encouragement and strength", a sentiment that played a central role in her collection.

So with fashion being such an accessible form of communication, perhaps now's the time to 'join the fight against discrimination' by wearing your opinions with pride, finding your voice and showing your support for crucial progress.

Author: George Elliot