When has fashion made a difference

Fashion is more than just clothes and appearance. It has one of the largest platforms in the world to connect people and project voices. When I think of fashion I think more about culture, movements and way of living rather than pretty dresses. Fashionable means more than just being on trend; to me being fashionable means that we are representing and influencing fair and moral things in relation to culture, activism, politics, society as well as fashion – being on trend with what we humans need to do to make the world a better place to live in for every person. Popular style means having taste in intelligent and well-informed views on the world as well as the latest designer shoe collections. So this is where fashion can use its platform and comment on world issues and contribute to insightful advances and influence its followers.

Vivienne Westwood

Westwood’s AW15 show simply promoted “VOTE GREEN”. The manifesto went on to say that we are currently “controlled by the 1% of the world population who are in power. They preach consumption, and they preach war, and they’re taking us into disaster. We are in incredible danger. There is no point in voting for the others.” Westwood also made a powerful statement for men in her AW15 menswear show, where models with bruised faces represented eco-warriors on a mission to save the planet. Westwood donated £300,000 to the Green Party. She has also launched Climate Revolution, a campaign to address climate change issues. “Climate revolution is the ultimate revolution; if we don’t win that, there won’t be many of us left.” Her acts of support for the cause include cutting off her famous red locks, donating £1 million to rainforest charity Cool Earth, and assembling celebrities in aid of Greenpeace’s ‘Save The Arctic’ work. In 2011, Westwood delivered her Ethical Fashion Africa campaign which focused on empowering female workers. She designed a range of bags which were made by women in the Nairobi under ethical labour conditions and the bags were made from discarded materials such as safari tents. Westwood described her stance and work as “not charity, just work,” noting that the project “gives people control over their lives,” unlike charity, which “makes them dependant.”

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Karl Lagerfeld

Lagerfeld’s Spring/Summer 15 consisted of a feminist protest march for the finale of the Chanel show which stirred up the fashion landscape to the extent where everybody had to form an opinion.”Today’s Chanel show was only the most public demonstration that fashion is marching hand-in-hand with feminism,” Sarah Mower commented. Karl revealed personal reasons behind his choice “My mother was very much a feminist and I thought it was something right for the moment. I couldn’t care less if people are for or against. It’s my idea. I like the idea of feminism being something light-hearted, not a truck driver for the feminist movement,”. The response to shows that take stances like this illustrate the industry’s ultimate power and that fashion has the ability to be an emblem of global influence and communicate a message to a world beyond clothe lovers.

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Rick Owens

Owens’ Spring/Summer 14 collection was shown on a group of women which challenged the norm of what we expect from models. An army of female step-dance crews of all difference colours and sizes transformed the catwalk show into a buzzing atmosphere and an arresting moment; they made a stark change from the typical silent and bored-looking models. The confidence and certainty to take such a vital issue in today’s society, an issue that continues and continues to affect people’s everyday lives, was a bold and influential statement that other designers need to follow and promote more rapidly. The reality of the type of models designers choose is non-existent and creates a very exclusive world that denies the majority of people that make up our society. This attitude doesn’t make the meaning behind clothing collections aspirational or desirable.

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