Why Fashion Matters at the Women's March on Washington
Omniscient, all-powerful Karl Lagerfeld was on to something in his Spring 2015 Chanel ready-to-wear fashion show: The full-scale production was a feminist rally, with models like Cara Delevingne outfitted not only dressed in iconic Chanel suits, but also carrying placards and megaphones to boot.
This weekend, people around the world will take to the streets on a larger scale than Lagerfeld’s show could’ve ever contained, just one day after president-elect Trump’s inauguration.
An estimated 200,000 plan to march for women’s rights in Washington, D.C., and there will be roughly 370 “sister marches” globally. While women might not wear head-to-toe Chanel, thousands plan to show sartorial solidarity.
Google Trends shows that searches for “feminism t-shirt” have peaked in the last week, as marchers gear up for demonstrations. The official T-shirt of the march costs $25 (all proceeds go to the March itself.) Expect to see these on demonstrators across the country, especially in warmer areas of the country, like Los Angeles.
And while it’s expected to be too cold for T-shirt weather alone in Washington, D.C., Rebecca Correa Funk, co-founder of online retailer The Outrage says that hundreds of people passing through her D.C.-area pop-up shop plan on wearing their T-shirts over the top of layers of clothing to keep them warm on march day.
“We’ve been selling a ton of stocking hats, and people are going nuts for enamel pins,” Correa Funk told Yahoo Style. “But our most popular item is the ‘Nasty Women Unite’ sweatshirt. We’ve sold around 3,000 units for the march.”
The Outrage online store launched in October, in the runup to the election and shortly after tapes revealed Trump making lewd comments about groping women without consent.
Since then, Correa Funk and co-founder Claire Schlemme have hardly been able to keep up with demand both in-store and across the country, as people furiously order from the pop-up ahead of the inauguration. A percentage of sales from the pop-up shop and online sales are donated to the march, and in the week since it opened, the duo has already contributed $10,000 to the demonstration.
Mimicking the grassroots momentum that led to the Women’s March, Americans across the country are knitting “pussy hats” out of pink yarn, a rebuke of the president-elect’s habit of making distasteful comments about women.
Another accessory you’ll find on march day: suffragette-inspired white-and-purple sashes that read, “Hear Our Voice,” which are sold out on Facebook. (White and purple are two colors on the suffragette flag, which originated in the U.K. before influencing the American women’s movement.)
The now-infamous tote bags that helped raise $20,000 for Planned Parenthood might pop up on marcher’s shoulders, though organizers say all bags are subject to search and may be confiscated, especially if they fall outside of the guidelines (clear, small bags only.)
Despite fashion’s fraught relationship with feminism, gearing up for the demonstrations really does seem to provide comfort to those disheartened by the election. As Correa Funk describes it: “Selling these clothes is a vehicle for me to take action, that’s what everyone’s calling for us to do. In a way, it’s a coping mechanism.”
Alexandra Mondalek is a writer for Yahoo Style. Follow her on Twitter @amondalek.
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