05 August 2015

Fashion's New Groove


Designers are looking to the past for inspiration and bringing with it a whole new kind of attitude.

images: Dree Hemingway by Sebastian Faena for PORTER Magazine

 The past few seasons have fully embraced the freedom and ease of the 1970s. However not only is the look of the Seventies girl translating this fall, but the attitude and strength is also carrying over. It's no accident to see the heightening support of feminism resurge around the same time as the trends of that era reappear.

The clothes of the Seventies marry a paradox: a feminine woman with strong masculine beliefs. These first-wave feminist stood for individuality. They told the conservative purists they were not just objects to be admired, but forces to be reckoned with. Yet these pioneers were not superstars. They were no Beyoncé; no Emma Watson; no Meryl Streep. These trailblazers changed the way women were viewed for just that - the change - not the glory. Their style equally reflected their feelings of who they were as women. They loved being women, and everything that comes with it - flowing patterned dresses, stacked heels, bell-bottomed pants, and delicate jewels. But remember, this is the 70s, men weren't afraid to wear this too. Women also dressed to reflect their new inner strength: blazers, pussy bow tops, suits and button-downs. They went minimal on hair and makeup to complement their busy lives, as well as to break status quos.

So after all of their hard work, and all of these years, you'd think we as women would be on an even ground. Right? Well, not exactly. Don't get me wrong, there's progress, but the little there is of that is only seen in privileged first-world countries. Hadley Freeman wrote on feminism in the Fall 2015 issue of PORTER saying, "Female genital mutilation (FGM) is still all too prevalent around the world, especially in Africa, but also in Asia and the Middle East. According to the World Health Organization, in Egypt, 91 percent of women - 91%! - may have been subjected to FGM. In China, abortions are far more likely to be conducted on female fetuses, to the point that for every 100 girls born, there are 119 boys. In Pakistan, almost a thousand women every year are the victims of so-called 'honor killings'." Even in the West, we still have not reached full equality. The pay gap is still astounding, a cause Mrs. Streep and Ms. Watson fight for today.

Fashion has also joined the equality cause. All of the trends first started by the first-wave feminists have seen new light in 2015. Fashion houses like Chloe, Stella McCartney, Valentino, and Burberry, as well as high street brands like Free People, have created collections pulsating with the energy of a powerfully independent woman. Karl Lagerfeld put on a full-fledge protest to conclude Chanel's Spring/Summer 2015 ready-to-wear show, featuring powerhouses Gisele, Kendall, Gigi, Cara, and Georgia May. Magazines like Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and PORTER are writing strong, influential, and honest essays on the new feminist revival. PORTER recently explored this in their Fall 2015 with two editorials featuring cover girl Daria Werbowy, titled 'True Grit' and 'Soft Focus', displaying the two forces of - not only Werbowy, but - every woman.

This is a powerful time we are living in. Our rights as women need to be given - but they will not. We must strive to take them for ourselves. It's the work of men and women, young and old. Fashion mirrors the time in which it existed, and ours in Fall 2015 reflects the strong, independent, beautiful, and elegant women we want to be. I am proud to be a feminist. A woman who wishes to see everyone that deserves equality achieve it. It's ours for the taking. Will you change the game? AB

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