February 8, 2018,
On the news, in Vogue and in the streets a revolution is stirring. It is not violent or disruptive, it is peaceful and powerful and it is being led by women.
You may not be aware of it yet but if you look you will see many women using fashion to protest. The Weinstein Scandal, The Presidents Club, Donald Trump “Grabbing them by the Pussy” the revelation of the BBC pay gap all tell us that men and women are not yet equal, we still have more work to do.
Vouge’s new editor Edward Enninful has heavily featured iconic and influential women from the fashion and celebrity industries in recent editions. Film awards ceremonies have seen actresses dressed in suits and all in black to show strength and solidarity, Prada’s spring collection “suggests militant women in a very practical way” and Dior’s t-shirts state “we should all be feminists”
My personal favourite rising trend of 2018 is the beret. As a teenager I was inspired by Che Guavara and also by the French Resistance and collected berets in different colours, I wore them as a fashion statement, to show confidence and strength in standing up for what I believed to be right. I haven’t put on a beret in a while but having seen celebrities like Rhianna, Beyonce and Rita Ora donning their beret’s and looking awesome I will certainly be digging mine out of the closet.
My favourite image of last year was that of Saffiyah Khan who was calm and composed, as she smiled and stood up to the manic English Defence League protester. The image went viral as it spoke to so many people at a time of political instability, Saffiya the young female with family links in Pakistan and Bosnia in the position of power over a white male.
Saffiya’s outfit, the denim jacket with sewn on patches, hoodie and nose piercing reminded me of the punk era, anarchists and Vivinenne Westwood’s SEX shop. Westwood has always been a leader in using fashion to make a statement, at the forefront of campaigning to stop Global Warming before it is too late and standing up for animal rights, she has always used her shows as a platform and many designers are following her lead.
Dior made the headlines last year with the “we should all be feminists” t-shirt, this year the Spring 2018 collection show opened with a model wearing a t-shirt asking “why are there no famous female artists?” followed by a line of models marching out in striped tops and berets, as well as artists it brings to mind the French resistance, a revolution and it is all too easy to start humming “can you hear the people sing” Les Miserable.
I can only speak for myself and I understand that what we wear isn’t going to change the world, it can however make a statement, it can make us feel stronger and more powerful so grab your beret the message is that a revolution is underway.