For me fashion has always been an escape from the so-called “real world.” From the time I could walk I remember playing dress up with both my dolls and myself for hours on end. As I got older, fashion–whether it was reading magazines full of it, illustrating it or photographing it–was there for me during tough times throughout my teenage years.
And, when I got to college in the fall of 2012, I started taking fashion much more seriously (and professionally!) after landing an internship as a contributing style and beauty writer for The Campus Companion, a college media network based in Massachusetts.
Though I had been exposed to both fashion and politics my entire life, I remained pretty off-put when the two seemed to merge more greatly than ever during the 2016 presidential election. I often found myself thinking, fashion is supposed to be a getaway from the stress of everyday life, but now the two are so intertwined.
Multiple times a week there seem to be a politically charged incident in the fashion industry making headlines all over the world. From t-shirts and panties emblazoned with slogans to reports of editors refusing to sit next to First Daughter Tiffany Trump at a runway show, New York Fashion week was filled to the brim with prominent political undertones.
On Monday, February 13, President Trump’s younger daughter sat front row during Philipp Plein’s Fall/Winter 2017 fashion show. Former Wall Street Journal columnist Christina Brinkley tweeted a photo of Tiffany Trump with several empty seats next to her.
“Nobody wants to sit next to Tiffany Trump at Philipp Plein, so they moved and the seats by her are empty,” she wrote.
Days later, on February 16, Brinkley tweeted the following:
“The two seats remained empty for about 2 minutes before others sat there. Then Philipp Plein’s sister made them move so she could sit there.”
However, a report from New York Daily News by Minyvonne Burke states otherwise.
“Several fashion editors took to Twitter revealing that people were scrambling to move their seats because they didn’t want to be near the 23-year-old,” according to Burke.
Alyssa Vingan Klein, editor-in-chief of Fashionista.com, tweeted on the 13th:
“Seating shitshow at Philipp Plein because no editors want to sit near Tiffany Trump. SHOCKER.”
Senior fashion editor at Elle Nikki Ogunnaike responded to Klein’s post, implying that she and other editors chose to relocate because of Trump, according to Burke.
“We moved and are down the hall. Come thru,” Ogunnaike tweeted in response to Klein.
After reports of the incident went public, television personality Whoopi Goldberg condemned the fashion editors’ behavior at Plein’s show and defended Trump on her daytime talkshow The View.
“You know what, Tiffany, I’m supposed to go to a couple more shows. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m coming to sit with you,” Goldberg said the day after the incident.
“Because nobody’s talking politics. You’re looking at fashion! She doesn’t want to talk about her dad! She’s looking at the fashion!”
Though Goldberg has been “extremely vocal” against the President, according to Fox News, she “understands how Tiffany Trump must feel” and is willing to put politics aside.
“I don’t want to talk about your dad, but, girl, I will sit next to you. Because I’ve been there where people said, ‘We’re not going to sit next to you.’ I’ll find your ass and sit next to you!” Goldberg continued.
Trump responded via Twitter later that day with the following statement:
“Thank you @WhoopiGoldberg I’d love to sit with you too!”
Amid the chaos, Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin, designers behind the label Tome, “sent one of their models down the runway wearing the pink Planned Parenthood pin,” according to Forbes. The two also donned “Stand With Planned Parenthood” t-shirts during their show’s finale.
Prabal Gurung, a designer who created a t-shirt for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, according to Forbes, sent models down the runway in statement t-shirts for his show’s finale. It girl Bella Hadid’s read “The Future Is Female,” while Gurung himself wore a “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like” t-shirt.
At Public School “creative directors Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne took a more parody approach to the political statement,” according to Forbes.
“Models sporting red ‘Make America New York’ baseball caps walked to a remixed version of Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land.”
The red hats stitched with white writing mimic President Trump’s widely known “Make America Great Again” campaign caps. Chow and Osborne also showed various pieces reading “We Need Leaders” during the fashion show.
Perhaps the most explicit statement against the President came from Mexico-born designer Raul Solis, who has worked for the likes of Proenza Schouler and his own label LRS, according to Dazed.
Models at Solis’ Fall/Winter 2017 wore visible underwear that read “No Ban No Wall” and “Fuck Your Wall” as they paraded down the runway.
“My family is first generation Mexican and some had to migrate to the US, (so) this issue is something extremely personal to me,” Solis tells Dazed.
“I would not be able to present my collections if it was not for the opportunities the country has given us.”
Though these big-name designers definitely stirred up controversy during New York’s biannual Fashion Week events, reports suggest many of them felt it was the necessary course of action given 2016s president election and the decisions made by the new administration since taking office last month.
“Showing in a city made up of such a melting pot of cultures as New York, [Solis] felt ‘it would seem wasteful to have a platform and not be able to speak up on an issue that is extremely important,’” according to Dazed.