What Does It Mean To Be Political With Fashion In 2019?

Fashion and politics have been bedfellows for as long as people have been getting dressed. As Square describes, the semiotic nature of the relationship means it’s impossible to separate the two. Perhaps one of the most explicit examples, on account of what the job entails and who it serves, is the sartorial examination of politicians: cast your eye over Jeremy Corbyn’s tracksuits, Theresa May’s leopard print kitten heels, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s white cape-blazer – and the headlines generated by each. …

“Throughout history, dress has been a signal of power. It has been used to suggest authority, moral value, wealth and status,” Donna Loveday, co-curator of the Design Museum’s 2014 exhibition, Women Fashion Power tells me. “For centuries women emulated men’s wardrobes to dress for power,” she continues, illustrating how women have previously mirrored masculine style tropes to facilitate confidence, “from the battle dress of Joan of Arc to the extreme shoulder padding of the 1980s, through to the trouser suits that mimicked men’s suits to assert authority.”

By Zoe Whitfield, Refinery 29

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