The last few Fashion Weeks, the political became… fashionable? Mostly as exemplified by an army of models in slogan tees. At Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri sent women out dresses in a uniform of navy and midnight colors, French military-style leather berets, and t-shirts stating ‘WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS” (caps the decision of the t-shirt designer, not my own). Parable Gurung created a line of tees with slogans like “The future is female” and “Nevertheless she persisted” (I love you Elizabeth Warren) among them.
I’m going to dodge the bullet of discussing the fashion industry’s place in politics or the problems with sexism and such that fester in the clothing industry itself, as I continue to be neither an expert in fashion nor politics nor business nor marketing nor public relations.
But also I can’t resist exercising my right to a political opinion (Thanks Amendment No. 1!) and fashion opinion. Which is basically that it’s great if people working in the fashion industry want to take a political stand and use their platform to do so- I would most like to see companies do this by hiring diverse casts of models, giving women equal opportunity and equal pay in the workplace, exploring sustainable practices in production and manufacture, and ensuring that the people who work to create their clothes are receiving fair pay in safe labor conditions.
All of those are fantastic and make me super enthusiastic- and I’m markedly less enthused by the ‘fashionable political’- empty words and pretty graphics on t-shirts for the sake of cashing in on the current trend of political awareness. (Which, I agree, should not be a trend but you have to admit that it is. The ability to see political involvement as an accessory (like a spin class or a green smoothie or a pair of Valentino Rockstuds is the very definition of privilege.
But fashion brands that put out political t-shirts are still fulfilling a valuable function- creating a uniform for actual people who tale actual actions and speak with an actual voice. So the following shirts don’t do your political involvement for you, but you’ll look damn good while you moon Trump Tower.
Okay, so I did have an opinion. It always surprises me when that happens. It’s a lot of opinion for the mainly fun and feminist t-shirts I’m about to link, and I want to be clear that none of the complaints i had about fashion companies above are meant to specifically apply to the items and designers that follow, many of which are small companies, some of which make efforts toward sustainability or solving others of the problems above.
So I guess the lesson is that while there is no ‘t’ in feminism, there can be a tee on a feminist?
The classic ‘Boobs Tee’
Because get over it, that’s why.
The ‘Free the Nipple’
Because Instagram and people need to calm down about areolas. Scratch that, new reason: Because WordPress just spellchecked areolas to aerials. This is breasts, not rocket science gymnastics!
The ‘Scallops are all the coverage I need’
Because you never related to anything so hard as this Reductress article.
The “T-shirt libéré”.
Because the only good woman is a free one.
Because Non means non.
The ‘Lover’. (Soon this will be a Tarot deck!)
Make love, not war.
Similar in Cherry, Avocado, Stars, Hearts, and Rose.
All profits donated to UN Women.
The ‘All for One’
And one for all.
In the end, most of these aren’t overtly political. But they are all shirts that, in different ways, embrace the myriad possibilities and potentials of being a woman. Which, in itself, is kind of radical.
(If you’re interested in more straightforwardly political feminist tees, the classics include: The Future is Female, We Should All be Feminists, Nasty Woman, and This Pussy Grabs Back.)