Kicking Off NYFW with Political Statements and Orthopedic Sneakers


Kicking Off NYFW with Political Statements and Orthopedic Sneakers

vetements-weird-leadRoman Drop Cap 1ashion has always been a haven for many.  Especially during Fashion Week, one can spend hours poring over new collections by favorite designers and checking out new and upcoming talent.  With the conclusion of both couture week in Paris and Men’s Fashion Week, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on both some of the shows, as well as the changing impact of fashion on society.

Very few people would disagree that the past few months, in particular days, have been some of the most politically tense in our generation’s lifetime.  Everyday my phone lights up with notifications about protests, updates on the travel ban, and more.


 It makes me wonder, with all the turmoil occurring, is it appropriate that fashion week still continues?

My answer is yes.  Fashion is always indicative of the times, and I think some of the most recent shows pay homage to the political turmoil the world is in.

Just a quick review:

gallery-1484753100-hbz-balenciaga-bros-embed (1)

A few of the looks featured on the Balenciaga runway

Demna Gvasalia, creative director of Balenciaga, paid tribute to Bernie Sanders with his FW `17 show – featuring shapeless corduroys you would find in a Maine workplace and the “Bernie blue” sweatshirt with “Balenciaga 2017” emblazoned on the back.  This collection also features orthopedic sneakers, less along the lines of an “ugly-is-cool” but more of a “rummaged through my dad’s closet” type look.

On the other end of the spectrum, streetwear brand Joe Fresh Goods’ debuted a line called “ThankUObama” – again referencing both pop culture and the current political climate.  With items such as t-shirts with “Malia” screenprinted across the front to items referencing Obama’s place in history as the 44th POTUS, the collection is modeled by Chance the Rapper.  This collection is clearly more than “just” a fashion line, as a ticker runs on the bottom of the “ThankUObama” webpage stating: “DO NOT WEAR. THIS IS ART. – joe”.


Chance the Rapper models the “Malia” t-shirt.

Gvasalia continues his political streak with the most recent Vetements collection.  Bursting onto the scene in 2014, Vetements is a “design collective” that pushes the boundaries of fashion is stocked everywhere and seen everywhere.  Perhaps the most recent Vetements show is the most political of them all – the looks all resemble outfits found on the streets.  In fact, the notes accompanying the show shed more light on the looks as they are all based on stereotypes.  Ranging from “punk” to “Miss San Antonio,” this show presents to us some hard-hitting ideas. Gvasalia says that with this show, since fashion is “always a reappropriation of something which already exists,” his goal was to “take a survey of social uniforms” – including even a United Nations soldier.


The EU tattered sweatshirt look from the Vetements show.

So what is his message? Is there even a message?  The answer is a resounding yes.  The satirical symbolism of each of his looks is jarring, particularly with the “Vagabond” wearing a sweater literally falling apart with the European Union flag on it.  Disturbing at some points and enchanting at others, this collection is a clear reflection of our current environment, and whether a dig at our political leaders or at the masses for purchasing “fashion” that is not true fashion because it is seen on a runway and not the streets, it accurately depicts the first few weeks of 2017.



Images courtesy of: GQHarper’s Bazaar, Vibe, and Vogue

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *