How the Fashion Industry Is Taking a Stance for the Most Important Social Causes

This feature is dedicated to our #NoChangeNoFuture initiative. From the Women’s March, to Australia voting yes to same sex marriage, and the #MeToo movement, 2017 taught us to look beyond ourselves and come together as a collective of powerful women who are writing our own history. Join us as we cancel setting one-dimensional personal resolutions this January and commit to being the change we want to see. Because without change, there is no future.

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As reported by Vogue, world-renowned brand Burberry is  "celebrating the LGBTQ+ community for Christopher Bailey’s last collection as creative director." Not only will the collection represent gay pride with its limited edition rainbow check, but Burberry has also announced its intentions to donate to charities that support the LGBTQ+ community and increase awareness of the challenges they may face.

While we love the aesthetic look of the rainbow incorporation into Burberry’s classic pattern, we love the idea behind the pieces even more. In reference to the collection, Bailey has said, "there has never been a more important time to say that in our diversity lies our strength, and our creativity," and we couldn’t agree more.

In fact, Burberry’s LGBTQ+ line is only one of many instances we’ve noticed lately, where designers are taking a stance on important social issues. At New York Fashion Week, we have seen a number of brands making statements about issues that need to be addressed, from diversity to sexual assault.

In the wake of the #MeToo campaign, Prabal Gurung’s show ended with models carrying white roses as a sign of support for the movement. Other designers also made statements through their designs. Take Tom Ford’s "pussy power" bags, for instance. Anything but subtle, these bags more than hint at female empowerment.

Similarly, we saw a number of shows which addressed the need for diversity in the fashion industry in their model lineups. Chromat led by example, featuring clothes on a range of diverse models unabashedly snacking on Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Not only did Chromat’s show feature models of varying ethnic backgrounds, but also included an amputee and a woman in a hijab. Similarly, Christian Siriano’s runway starred a number of celebrities of different shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. Nothing short of exquisite, Siriano’s show confirmed the value and beauty of diversity on the runway.  

In the same vein, Rebecca Minkoff chose to skip fashion week altogether, instead focusing energy into an online profile showcasing female empowerment. The editorial, entitled RM Superwoman, is centred around women making a difference—with the clothes seeming less important than the females featured on the site. As InStyle reports, "The platform will not only highlight activists like the Women's March leaders, but it will also be a place for conversation and events that will hopefully inspire women to lead 'fearless' lives." We can’t help but think that perhaps this is a more useful allocation of money that would typically go into producing an extravagant runway show, and it leads us to wonder whether this is an indication of what the future of fashion will look like.

Regardless of whether or not fashion shows will continue to carry such importance, however, it’s refreshing to see that either way, there appears to be a acknowledgement from the fashion industry. Both on and off the runway, designers are speaking out against injustice and fighting for causes they believe in. Whether through collections like Burberry’s, or in diverse casting, we can only hope to see more of this sartorial activism take place.

Like Bailey stated, this is an important time in history, and that means that each of us should try to do our part. In an industry as visible as fashion, these issues can’t  be ignored, and if designers continue to speak up, as some have been already, we can only imagine the positive ripple effect that can flow on into the wider community. 

Feeling inspired by Burberry’s announcement? Keep scrolling to shop other products that support the LGBT+ community:

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