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In the past few months, it has become abundantly clear that fashion and activism are not mutually exclusive. With Dior making appeals on the runway and most of Vogue’s best dressed at political rallies, making your position known with fabric is a front-running trend seeping from 2016 into 2017.

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Though nothing new, designers and fashionistas are digging the take-a-stance, not the look-at-me statement once again. Handing out flyers and signing petitions became a thing of the past as the fashion community banded together to be heard by way of slogan-splashed across T-shirts, the brands they supported, and more. Fashion was no longer a frivolous matter but a medium to make actions louder and memorable. In the past fashion has played a strong role with slut-walks and LGBTQ protests, but by the end of 2016 it was one of the strongest tools to demand political and social action. We moved past shirts with T-Swift lyrics to make bold statements about feminism, immigration rights, Trump, Aleppo and more.

High Fashion’s Take on Activism

Anti-Trump fashion wore the crown for much of 2016. By and large, much of the activism was galvanized by the election — specifically, the implications of a Trump presidency (the reality is here!). As a result, many of the big fashion headlines had a political tie or were downright Trump-driven: “Opening Ceremony Sends a Message (Plenty, in Fact),” the New York Times reported after the retailer’s Fall 2016 show. Furthermore, fashion community debated on whether they would dress the FLOTUS.

Junya Watanabe SS17

Vêtements set the tone for AW16, its slogan sweatshirt declaring, ‘May the bridges we burn light the way,’ and that mood carried right over into SS17 with Maria Grazia Chiuri blasting her soft, ethereal debut collection for Dior with the declaration that ‘we should all be feminists.’ Our favorite has to be Junya Watanabe’s girl – rocking blue hair, black origami spikes, denim cut-offs and ripped tights.

As the first-ever female Artistic Director at Dior, In September, Maria Grazia Chiuri made her runway debut as Dior’s artistic director with a Spring 2017 collection count. She centered her collection on female empowerment. The collection included strong silhouettes with sneakers to balance traditionally feminine pieces. The most memorable look – an embellished tulle skirt topped with a graphic white tee, which roared, “We Should All Be Feminists.” We are obsessed.

Making Women’s Voices Stronger With A Shared Love

We would be lying if we didn’t wake up every morning with the thought “let’s slay today” (and then reach for 5 glasses of coffee). Slay has become a strong term for millennials. Elle UK defines it as ‘doing something bold and amazing.’ More relevant than ever, fashion made slaying even more concrete by gelling fashion’s soft spot for the rebel and the misfit. Hood By Air’s badass women panthered down the runway scrunched leather trousers, and subdued tees and shirts in baby blue stating ‘Hustler’.

Fashion’s relevancy for such issues can be heavily debated but it is always right to take an ethical stance.

—by the B*

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