The First Fashion of 2017

Last year’s trend for making political statements through dress continues to be a strong influence in 2017.

The National Mall in Washington may become a sea of pink tomorrow. For two months, Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman, founders of the Pussyhat Project, have called on those attending the Women’s March on Jan. 21 to wear a pink hat to create a strong visual statement at the march. The movement also allows those unable to attend the march to support the event by wearing a pussyhat wherever they are. The name of the hats were inspired by President Trump’s comments in a 2005 tape in which he said: “Grab them (women) by the pussy. You can do anything.”

A view of the march, January 21, 2017

The hats are simple, consisting of a crocheted or knitted rectangle folded in half and stitched up the sides. For those who aren’t crafty, hats can be found from various online sources.

The Fashion of Politics

Paper dress with image of Pierre Trudeau, 1968

Paper dress with image of Pierre Trudeau, 1968

The FHM is loaning 13 pieces (including the Trudeau paper dress from the 1968 Liberal leadership convention shown at right) to the Toronto Design Exchange for their exhibition Fashion of Politics/Politics of Fashion, opening this Thursday. There was a great article in the Globe and Mail this weekend that featured highlights from the exhibition.

One of the best examples of fashion and politics is relevant to an historic vote happening this week that may result in Scotland becoming independent of England. In 1746 the tartan and kilt was abolished in Scotland in an attempt to subdue Highlander rebellion and bring them under government control. After the law was repealed in 1782, the wearing of tartan kilts became the national dress of Scotland.

A patchy history and the Politics of Fashion

For some reason a small selection of comic books came in the same box as a donation of books for the museum library. Unfortunately none of them were issue #1 of Superman – just some well thumbed (mostly Archie) comics from the early-mid 1970s. I went looking for the sea monkey and X-ray specs ads that I remembered from when I read comic books in the late 60s, but instead found a lot of offers for T-shirts and jean patches, including many that are surprisingly political for the pre-teen market of the comic books.

Speaking of political fashions, the Fashion History Museum wll be collaborating with Toronto’s Design Exchange this fall on an exhibition entitled Politics of Fashion – Fashion of Politics. The exhibition will explore the ways fashion and politics have collided and cooperated from 1960 to the present.

I don’t know the entire artifact list but a lot of my Hippy and Punk collection will be on show… and I imagine a lot of patched jeans and T-shirts with political messages will make the cut. The show will be on from September 18 to January 25, 2015.

Added July 8: An article came out today in Toronto Life promoting the show and even depicts three of our pieces that will be on display.

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Patches for jeans, from a September 1975 Chip ‘n’ Dale comic book