Loud and clear: the art of political dressing

Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

Comment on the delightfully absurd spectacle of the Met Gala this year coalesced around the pointed image of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a gorgeously traditional white gown, the kind of thing a deep south debutante might wear, with “Tax the Rich” in a vast red scrawl on the rear. Was the Aurora James dress provocative or performative, just facile radical cosplay? Critics across the political spectrum worked themselves into a froth of outrage: it was hypocrisy to even attend the $35,000-a-ticket event; AOC was having her cake, eating it, then telling the cake it was problematic.

On some level, job done: we’re all talking about it. “The medium is the message,” as she wrote on Instagram afterwards. AOC wasn’t the only one with a message for the scrollers and gawpers on the night: congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s suffragette-inspired gown was embroidered with “Equal rights for women”; serial sloganeer Cara Delevingne wore a “Peg the Patriarchy” bulletproof vest designed by Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri, and if you’re not rolling your eyes reading that, you’re a kinder person than me.

Sign of the times: Vivienne Westwood arrives with models at the #INEOSVTHEPEOPLE catwalk presentation outside Ineos headquarters in London in 2018. Photograph: Ki Price/Getty Images

None of this is inherently surprising: political fashion is as old as politics. Female leaders and protesters since antiquity dressed in male clothing and the 18th and 19th centuries swished with sashes, sans-culottes and rosettes. The 20th century saw suffragette colours and the civil rights movement shifting from the deliberate respectability of Sunday Best to the Black Panthers’ leather jackets, shades and berets. Punk adopted slogans and post-punk made them explicitly political: Katherine Hamnett wore her “58% don’t want Pershing” T-shirt to meet Mrs Thatcher in 1984 in protest at US missiles in Europe (“She bent down and read it and let out a squawk like a chicken,” she recalled). Hamnett, Westwood and the ACT UP Aids activists inspired and dressed a generation, even if most of us stuck to CND symbols and Frankie Says Relax. The 90s brought raver protest smileys; the 00s introduced us to silicone slogan wristbands, among other fashions we’d very much like to forget.

But there’s a decent argument that the chaos and upheaval of the past decade, the sense of disenfranchisement and despair at political life, have super-charged statement dressing across the ideological spectrum. Debate seems impossible, so we let our clothes do the talking. We’ve had Maga caps and pink pussy hats, gilets jaunes and Katherine Hamnett exhorting us to Cancel Brexit. It’s black (the Golden Globes #MeToo 2018 initiative or antifascist protest “black bloc” clothing) and white (the Democratic Women’s Working Group at the 2019 State of the Union). It’s binary: Melania’s “I Really Don’t Care. Do U?” parka and Jill Biden’s “Love” jacket retort.

Some political fashion feels spine-tinglingly powerful: NBA players wearing “I can’t breathe” T-shirts in 2014 to protest the killing of Eric Garner; Stormzy on the Pyramid Stage in Glastonbury in a Banksy union jack stab vest. Some become so ubiquitous it is leached of meaning: when Burberry shows a pride rainbow collection as it did in 2018, it’s progress, certainly, but it’s no longer protest.

Much of it inspires an exasperated sigh. Natalie Portman wore a dress embroidered with the names of overlooked female directors when her own production company had only employed one (her). Cara Delevingne’s “Peg the Patriarchy” dress failed to credit the sex educator and artist Luna Matatas who copyrighted the phrase in 2015. And we suffered the grisly spectacle of Nick Clegg in a This is What a Feminist Looks Like T-shirt.

This stuff is most susceptible to accusations of slacktivism: it can feel didactic and pointlessly preachy. A slogan T-shirt that says “Climate change is real” is still contributing to the environmental catastrophe of fast fashion: surely it’s more radical not to buy anything at all. Others can feel disconcertingly sincere; a literal heart on the sleeve.

That can make for an uneasy cohabitation between fashion and statement, too, because we want to look good, even when we’re being political. I bought a “Merci Simone” T-shirt, thanking Simone Veil for her work legalising abortion in France, because I’m truly grateful, but also because it had a scoop neck and a cute font.

But you don’t need to dress in sackcloth to make a political point: that sweet spot where activism and fashion inspire one another can be electric. Show is often more powerful than tell – think of Billy Porter, splendid in his tuxedo ballgown at the 2019 Oscars, the spiritual successor to Marlene Dietrich arriving in Paris in trousers in 1933, with that same elegant defiance. “I felt alive. I felt free. And open and radiant. And beautiful!” Porter said. What could be more radical than that?

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Tämä aamiaismajoitus vie yöunet – halloweenin kauhut tunkeutuvat jopa huoneisiin

Yöpyisitkö aamiaismajoituksessa, jossa mörköjä tunkee huoneeseesi öisin? Kraken-rommimerkki lupaa pelotella halloween-faneja aamuyön pikkutunneille saakka. Miten pelottava rommivalmistaja muka voi olla? Tänä halloweenina se selviää. Amerikkalainen Kraken-rommimerkki on päättänyt avata kauhujuhlan kunniaksi ... Read more »

Kiwi mum's courage: 'My boobs are ticking timebombs'

“My boobs could kill me.” That’s the first thing Samantha Littlefield thinks as she looks down at her breasts – and very soon, the 30-year-old plans to say goodbye to ... Read more »

Did Wiegaat meet Poelifinarionaar huis?

Welke cabaretiers hebben de beste voorstelling van de afgelopen seizoenen gemaakt en wie is het grootste cabarettalent? Maandagavond maakt de VSCD-Cabaretjury, onder leiding van theatredirecteur Nico Baars, in het Haagse ... Read more »

Rebel Wilson wows fans in pink jumpsuit as she reveals latest results of health kick

Rebel Wilson has lost more than 4.5 stone since pledging to get healthy in January 2020. Since declaring 2020 her 'year of health', Rebel Wilson has shed an impressive 4.5 ... Read more »

Het oeuvre van Goya: zwartgallig, eigenzinnig en intens persoonlijk

Beeldende kunst Goya Fondation Beyeler, Basel T / m January 2011. Inl: fondationbeyeler.ch ●●●●● Het moment waarop de Spaanse koninklijke familie kennismaakte met het werk van Francisco de Goya (1746–1828) ... Read more »

Tesco branch praised for helping tackle period poverty with 'white envelope' scheme

Customers struggling to afford sanitary products can receive supplies free from the supermarket. (Getty Images) A branch of Tesco has been praised for supplying free sanitary products in an effort ... Read more »

the 5 best highlights of Lisbon

Judith Tielemans Call out old trams, picturesque streets and cozy terraces and you arrive at Lisbon. The Portuguese capital is a popular destination for both tourists and digital nomads, who ... Read more »

Amanda Holden shares sweet holiday photo with lookalike daughters

Amanda Holden is currently away with her family on a sunny break. (Getty Images) Since jetting off on her latest holiday, Amanda Holden has been impressing fans with a series ... Read more »

Quarter of Britons believe cat-calling should be made a criminal offence

The poll revealed that over two-thirds of young women said they had been subjected to street harassment. (Getty Images) Almost a quarter of Britons support cat-calling being made a criminal ... Read more »

Ontroerend portret van drie vrouwen dievastzitten in een keurslijf

De uren verstrijken maar de tijd staat stil, dat is wat regisseur Eline Arbo benadrukt in haar Adaptatie van Michael Cunninghams roman Douren uit 1998. We volgen Clarissa Vaughan and ... Read more »

Viotti brengt mooie ode aan enigma Haitink

Klassiek Gautier Capuçon (cello) & Nederland Philharmonic Orchestra olv Lorenzo Viotti I met Muziek van Adès, Elgar en Mendelssohn. Gehoord: 22/10. TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht. Nog te zien: 25/10 Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. ●●●●●● ... Read more »

Hopenop een uitreisvisum in “Casablanca”

Dans Casablanca Door Scapino Ballet Rotterdam. Gezien 21/10, Rotterdam. Tony t / m8 / 5/22. Inl. : Scapinoballet.nl ●●●●● “Give me a letter, Rick!” Half snikkend, half dreigen spreekt Ilsa ... Read more »

Priyanka Chopra reveals she has 'always felt pressure' to be 'perfect and skinny'

Priyanka Chopra has opened up about how she was raised with “unrealistic beauty standards“. (Getty Images) Although widely considered one of the world's most beautiful women, Priyanka Chopra has revealed ... Read more »

Dannii Minogue shares secret to youthful skin as she reveals battle with 'terrible' rosacea

Dannii Minogue has opened up about her skincare routine after giving up Botox in 2010. (Getty Images) She turned 50 four days ago – and now Dannii Minogue has revealed ... Read more »

STI rates ‘at their highest numbers' in US as Covid dominates health funding

Health officials in the US are concerned about how to divert key resources to combatting a rise in sexually-transmitted infections (STI) that is now continuing despite the social restrictions of ... Read more »

Jan Wolkers Prijs naar'De ontdekking van de natuur'

De winnaar werd zondagochtend bekendgemaakt in radioprogramma Vroege Vogels, Voor deze gelegenheid uitgezonden vanuit de Hortus botanicus Leiden. Hans Murder is a naturalist collector at the University of Amsterdam. In ... Read more »

If Your Blue-Jeans Outfits Need a Refresh, Here Are 9 Cool Looks to Try

Blue jeans—where would our wardrobes be without them? We dread to think. No item in your wardrobe is as hard-working and versatile as blue jeans. You can wear them for ... Read more »

Casino sells eleven works by Picasso to make room for diversity

The Bellagio hotel in the American gambling city of Las Vegas has sold eleven paintings and other works by Picasso for 100 million dollars (more than 85 million euros). Parent ... Read more »

AOC condemns Dem leaders for ignoring ‘very real' threat of fascism

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks to supporters of Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton during a rally on Oct. 23, 2021. Joshua Bessex/AP Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Saturday ripped moderate Democratic ... Read more »

Christian Dior's sister was a WWII hero — and famous scent's inspiration

Catherine Dior (left), the famous designer’s younger sister, was the inspiration behind his famed Miss Dior perfume. Historia/Shutterstock In 1947, Paris was still struggling after World War II, and the ... Read more »

TikTok make-up artists promote lube as a skin primer, claiming it helps foundation glide on, but experts say it could damage your skin

TikTok make-up artists are using lubricant as a primer, saying it helps their foundation go on smoothly. But some dermatologists think there could be adverse effects. Make-up artist and TikToker ... Read more »

Indigenous fashion in Australia makes giant strides forward, from the country's fashion week to its oldest department store

Tears, joy and a standing ovation rounded off this year’s First Nations Fashion and Design (FNFD) show, a celebration of 10 indigenous fashion brands, at June’s Afterpay Australian Fashion Week ... Read more »

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021: 12 buys that help support the cause

This Breast Cancer Awareness month you can buy many things from lip glosses to bikes and 100% of profits will be donated to charities. (Getty Images) Yahoo Life's editors are ... Read more »

Five make-up influencers to follow for tips on doing your own at home, explained in simple steps

Now that we’ve addressed how much misinformation there is online about make-up, let’s look at some social media influencers who are doing an excellent job of educating their followers on ... Read more »

Missguided fashion tycoon seeks £50m lifeline

Sofia Richie and CEO of Missguided Nitin Passi arrive at the Sofia Richie x Missguided launch party at Bootsy Bellows on September 18, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by ... Read more »

Why the Duchess of Cambridge wears so much red

The Duchess of Cambridge often turns to the colour red when on royal duty. (Getty Images) The Duchess of Cambridge has an enviable wardrobe with outfits covering all weathers and ... Read more »

Best laptop stands for the office and home – from Amazon, Argos, Ikea and more

Keep your screen elevated to improve posture and keep your workspace neat and tidy. (Getty Images) Yahoo Life's editors are committed to independently selecting wonderful products at great prices for ... Read more »

‘We've been caught half-dressed': ambivalent Glasgow awaits Cop26

Diwali candles in pretty terracotta pots are stacked around the counter at Suresh & Sons grocer in Finnieston, the Glasgow district that borders the UN-managed “blue zone” of the Scottish ... Read more »

New Covid variant ‘under investigation' by officials but it does not appear to ‘cause more severe disease'

Variant under investigation AY.4.2 may have increased growth rate compared to the Delta variant (PA) A new variant of coronavirus is “under investigation” by public health officials amid fears it ... Read more »

This Barbell AMRAP Is Going To Build You a Bulletproof Mindset & the Quads To Match

The most satisfying workouts are a challenge of your mental strength as much as your physical fitness. In the moment that a session starts to really suck (your sixth sprint ... Read more »

The Guilt-Free Fashion Brands We're Prioritising in Our Wardrobes

Whether we like it or not, the world of sustainable fashion is one that is riddled with inconsistencies and misinformation. What does sustainable actually mean? What should we be looking ... Read more »

As searches for pet advent calendars surge, here are 8 of the best options

Searches for pet advent calendars have increased: 10 of the best to spoil your pooch. (Getty Images) Yahoo Life's editors are committed to independently selecting wonderful products at great prices ... Read more »

Best Christmas gifts for mum: 13 ideas for presents she'll actually want

With gift ideas from £15, it’s never been easier to get ahead of the Christmas shopping rush. (Getty Images) Yahoo Life’s editors are committed to independently selecting wonderful products at ... Read more »

Black British Fashion: Fashion is a form of experimentation

A look into the personal fashion choices and style of Black British women today. Read more »

Ex-MP Frank Field reveals terminal illness as he backs assisted dying

Frank Field, the former Labour MP for Birkenhead, has revealed that he is terminally ill as he backed a law that would allow assisted dying. Field, 79, represented the Merseyside ... Read more »

6 Easy Autumn Outfits I Can't Wait to Wear

If you're still holding out for that second August heatwave, then you might want to look away now because I'm about to rain on your parade. (Quite literally—have you seen ... Read more »

Best eco-friendly and low VOC paint, from Little Greene to Lick

Paints that are low VOC could also boost the value of your home. (Getty Images) Yahoo Life's editors are committed to independently selecting wonderful products at great prices for you. ... Read more »

Issa Rae Wears a Caramel Cutout Dress To Celebrate 'Insecure's Final Season

Issa Rae is celebrating the final season of Insecure in style. The star made a glamorous entrance at the Insecure Season 5 premiere in LA Thursday night. For the series' ... Read more »

Black British Fashion: Fashion is the greatest form of self-expression

A look into the personal fashion choices and style of Black British women today. Read more »

NS departs night train between Amsterdam and Zurich on December 12th

The long wait is about to end. After announcing that a night train between Amsterdam and Zurich could be on the card last summer Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) has confirmed that ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic