Politics Is LFWM’s Biggest Trend
Politics Is LFWM’s Biggest Trend
Now more than ever, designers are using their work as a platform to comment on current political issues. Possibly due to increased awareness and exposure to information and news from social media and the internet, both the creators and consumers within the industry are attuned to the social context for a collection and tend to respond well to work made with a point.
With British politics a big issue at the moment and the threat of extremist views from the DUP party getting more attention, the sense of defiance and rebellion in shows such as Art School and Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY was clear. Models paraded and danced with power down Art School’s catwalk, a reference to queer culture making a stand against some political parties lack of consideration for LGBTQ+ individuals. They suggested hope of a genderless future. A world where types of clothing and behavioural codes are not assigned at birth; where outsiders are accepted, unusual seen as usual; all people seen as equal no matter their gender or way they choose to identify or express themselves.
Some shows over the weekend were reminiscent of the way the youth responded to the election, with a sense of collaborative rebellion a prominent trend. KTZ are known for their anarchic style, but this season their post-apocalyptic militia felt particularly relevant considering the power the youth population had at the elections. Like at the KTZ show, the youth marched out with purpose and made a difference with their vote. This was also seen at Maison Mihara Yasuhiro, where onlookers were invited to witness the collection in an underground carpark; hidden from the world, it suggested a sense of uprising, an army forming beneath the busy central London streets. The finale featured all the models walking as a group, coming towards the end of the runway like a wave of previously pent-up strength.
Other commentaries were also provided through collections such as Christopher Raeburn, whose collection once again pushed environmentally sustainable fabrics. The slogan “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, Raeburn” was seen popping up throughout the garments, and although it did effectively promote the concept of fashionable yet eco-friendly design, it would be impossible to ignore the fact that the fashion industry itself is largely unsustainable; to produce two collections as Raeburn does per year must be near impossible to do in a completely environmentally friendly way.
Another slightly conflicting message was from Alex Mullins, who presented a warped “parallel universe” version of 90’s perfume adverts. The distorted screen prints and asymmetrical silhouettes presented an image of blind and tangled consumerism, however surely to design clothes as a business is feeding the cycle of consumerism in some way also. The concept was still effective despite its slightly hypocritical initial sound, as Mullins seemed to create more of a narrative and commentary on the industry as consumerist, rather than attempt to protest for or against any particular aspect of it.
It seems politics and social issues come hand-in-hand with a modern designer’s way of thinking; it proved incredibly relevant this year and will certainly solidify each collection as something with historical context in the years to come. What’s left to see is how much the messages reach the show’s audience and brands market, and whether the collections this year have the power to influence those who wear them.
Written by Ellie Connor-Phillips