The upcoming Fashion Week season hitting New York, then London, Milan and Paris, is in the wake of the #MeToo campaign that is yet to confront the Fashion Industry as it has the rest of Hollywood. Figures from the fashion world are highlighting the importance of the #MeToo and#TimesUp campaign in their industry too. How will the fashion world show political solidarity during this time?
It’s impossible to have missed the various Hollywood power structures continue to crumble as the film and music industries confront the history of, and ongoing, sexual harassment and abuse at work. The news and social media has been spilling over with the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaign against the wrongs in Hollywood industries against women. At the recent Golden Globe Awards, everyone turned up in black gowns to stand in solidarity with the two campaigns and speeches, from figures like Oprah Winfrey and Meryl Streep, addressing the issues played a significant role during that night, and other award ceremonies since. The black dress solidarity showed that Fashion can be an important conversation starter, making statements that can reach out worldwide.
Now the award seasons have finished though, how does the fashion industry confront the #MeToo campaign head on? New York Fashion week runs over the next week and the runways are bound to be filled with clothes emulating political and, in particular, feminist statements. Designers have the power to shape culture in the same way actors and musicians do and, in the wake of #MeToo, they are certainly obligated to.
In preparation for NY Fashion Week, Kristina Romanoca and Antoniette Costa from the fashion industry started the non-profit organisation and app Humans of Fashion. Humans of Fashion gives the less powerful figures in the fashion industry- such as models, stylists, makeup artists, photographers- a voice. The organisation aims to connect people who have suffered abuse or mistreatment with each other, or lawyers, doctors, councillors and other support networks through a website and a brand new app. The two activists are hoping New York Fashion week will be the ideal platform to launch this app and get people talking openly about the industry problems.
Furthermore, the Model Alliance and the Council of Fashion Designers of America have partnered to make changes for models backstage during fashion week. More and more models are speaking out about the lack of privacy and lack of background checks on personnel backstage and on shoots. The new changes will provide private changing areas for the models backstage. Mass Media Company Conde Nast announced a new code of conduct for its brands’ photo shoots, banning underage models and alcohol on sets as well as setting stricter standards for nude or sexually explicit poses.
During the second night of NYFW Friday, for a show organised by Myriam Chalek, models will hit the catwalk in a special #MeToo fashion show. Myrian Chalek told The News: “It’s not just going to be a bunch of women walking the runway; there’s a twist to it. It’s going to be very emotional… Some (women) are actually going to speak for the first time about their experiences.” We’re excited to see how the fashion industry will unite in style for the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns over the coming fashion week season. Hopefully this activism in fashion will continue over London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks too.
Fashion is an important conversation starter and the industry is rousing to join the Hollywood fight.