It happened! As many predicted, NYFW fashion shows got political!
The conversation in many of my classes, as I previously said here, has invariably been about how the fashion world would react to the political agitation going around us. There were many signs before the fashion month started that designers and companies (read it here and here) were not going to shut their eyes and ignore the tense atmosphere that you can clearly feel in America. Designers can’t help but be influenced by what’s going around. They can either go for the “escapism” route, to try to bring happiness and relief to their customers through clothes, or they can roll their sleeves and join the resistance. Either way there’s a place for everybody, you can find consolation in collections like Rosie Assoulin’s (Summer colors for Winter anyone?) or you can put your hat on to protest on the streets with Public Schoool’s “Make America New York” red cap.
Prabal Gurung’s Fall 17 presentation was by far the one that got the most reactions. The first photo I saw of the collection was published by model Sara Sampaio on her instagram. She was wearing a black t-shirt that said “I am an emigrant”. You can understand why it kind of touched a soft-spot, I’m also a Portuguese emigrant living in NY. At that point I remembered reading a profile on Prabal Gurung many years ago where he talked about his move from Nepal, where he grew up, to NY to study at parsons, another soft-spot for me since I was only able to leave my beautiful Lisbon because studying at Parsons was a major personal goal.
The collection itself didn’t feel revolutionary although it was absolutely beautiful and alluring as per usual. The model casting also intended to send a message across: we’re not all alike and fashion must embrace those differences, specially when it comes to body diversity. The message has to be cohesive and I’m glad someone is ready to say it.