can fashion still have a political ambition? part iii

In 2003, i-D asked two hundred fashion designers if fashion can have a political ambition. It was the Blair years and Katharine Hamnett sent models down the catwalk wearing T-shirts that read, ‘STOP WAR, BLAIR OUT’ in protest of the invasion of Iraq...

by i-D Team
|
01 April 2015, 8:35am

Walter van Beirendonck fall/winter 15

"I believe that fashion is a reflection of society. Behind every collection there is an inspiration or motive - political, economic or social - that
I suppose, in a way, aims to be a creative voice for the consumer. There's no denying that what a customer wants stems from their social demographic, so it becomes a grey area when luxury is used to make a rebellious statement - a £3,000 jacket saying 'fuck the system' is wrong." Jonathan Saunders 

"I think everyone should have the same chance as me in life; they should be born, they should have a chance to recognise their potential and do something only they can do. And everyone has that potential, we can all do something only we can do and that's what makes us happy and fulfilled. It is my duty and yours, by being on earth, to understand this wonderful world. When a little kid is blown sky high the minute he's born, or when people are bad and wicked because they have had such a horrible hard life, and they are all in competition with each other, they weren't born like that! We are being run by 1% of people on this planet and all their propaganda and all their wealth works against any solution, in fact they are the problem! They aren't telling people enough about it and they certainly aren't doing enough about it." Vivienne Westwood

"Fashion can be political. It already has a political voice. The only issues are its chosen politics. At present, fashion's chief concerns are linked to finance, a continuing history of anthropology, and the digital mediums that serve the proliferation of consumption, exposure, and education about the available products. Fashion can no longer have a critical voice when the main activities of most companies are free of any concern for human rights, spiritual integrity and humanity. Unfortunately, all aspects integral to the human condition are never really referenced in fashion. It's mostly about international beauty, coolness, Instagram notoriety, celebrity, sub-cultural (or otherwise) subversion, global voyeurism that serves a limited aesthetic interest, and ceaseless archives of hedonistic tendencies. The obsession with wealth and riches, fame and beauty, transformation and makeovers has made almost all of fashion prone to a non-political stance. Fashion has all the power and support — financially and structurally — to communicate useful information that can immediately align with humanity's best interests. The problem is that, for some reason, the focus on beauty, individualism, the personalised lifestyle (often based on the consumption of certain products), style cults, and artistic method never seem to align with a cause outside of the sensual or hedonistic. It's not cool to be political or religious in fashion. But this is the perfect time for fashion to be political, a perfect time for consumers to choose who they want to wear and what they want to think about." Andre Walker

"Definitely not in the design! I think that when a designer tries to be political in the way they design, it always feels extremely empty and superficial. But I do feel that buying and selling in fashion has never been so political. As a customer, where you choose to shop is a political choice. In some ways, buying in the right way is more important than voting (although that may be because I sometimes feel that my vote doesn't count). As a designer I feel immensely responsible, because if I make a mistake in where I source my animal products, if I choose the wrong supplier, I may be contributing to the cruelty within the industry. You cannot simply think that this is the brand's responsibility; you are as responsible as them if you buy their products! As a woman and a designer, I feel like I have a voice when it comes to saying what I think a woman is in 2015." Faustine Steinmetz 

Read part 1 here

Read part 2 here

How are Generation Z going to change the world? Find out here.