Expression through clothing is not a new concept. The ever-changing fashion scene has long served as a mirror image of the mood and political pulse of an era. The minis of the swinging ’60s gave way to the flower power aesthetic that was representative of the peace movement in the ’70s. The 80s embraced corporate supremacy with shoulder pads and structure, the antithesis of the grunge-themed 90s where heroin chic was the look of the decade.
This season, designers are encouraging us to have our say quite literally with wordy tees. When Dior sent the white tee declaring “WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS” down the runway, it was a clear sign that chatty shirts were back in style. Not since the 90’s when George Michael encouraged us to “Choose Life” in his Wake Me Up video and British designer Katharine Hamnet declared “Frankie Say Relax” have we seen such a resurgence of words on clothing.
This season, the wording appears to be much more politically charged. Emily Ratajkowski gave fierce street style wearing Jonathan Simkhai’s “Feminist AF’ during Paris Fashion Week. Prabal Gurung filled his FW17 catwalk with messages including “I am an immigrant” , “Nevertheless, she persisted” and “The future is female”. The designer, born in Singapore and raised in Nepal, even donned a “This is what a feminist looks like” tag line himself for his curtain call. No doubt that the political climate in DC isn’t sitting well in the ateliers around the world.
Ironic that the majority of slogan t-shirts seem to be promoting feminist agendas, since fashion and feminism have not always been the best of friends. Still Rihanna’s “This P**sy grabs back” became a rallying cry for women against Donald Trump and at the same time graced the front of a Dior hoodie worn by the singer.
Whether you choose to make a political statement or a fashion statement, no doubt you will find a wordy tee to accurately express yourself in style this spring.