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Wearable Protest: Fashion’s Role in Activism
2016 was the year of fashion activism. In the wake of Brexit, Trump, Aleppo, the migrant crisis and police brutality, designers and activists are speaking out and using fashion as their vehicle for expression.
Over the last year we have seen; the rise of collections challenging prescriptive ideas of black identity; the emergence of a ‘pussyhat’ worn by thousands of protestors at the women’s march as a symbol of solidarity and political resistance; and t-shirts promoting left-wing politicians, peace in the Middle East and the importance of the National Health Service.
Combining political statements and playful slogans with unique shapes, materials and colours, these design objects are challenging social stereotypes and having a profound impact on contemporary politics.
Part of the exhibition programme for Beazley Designs of the Year.
Ayishat Akanbi is a fashion stylist with a strong interest in socio-political issues surrounding race, class, identity, gender, homelessness, private prisons, gangs, drugs and addiction. Her aim is to help make politics more engaging for young people. She regularly speaks in schools and on panel discussions, most recently at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Jonny Banger is owner and Director of Sports Banger - a U.K. lifestyle brand with a difference. The brand is best known for their range of bootleg t-shirts that subvert logos of commercial fashion brands to respond to urgent social, political and cultural controversies. Its NHS x Nike t-shirt became an iconic symbol for the recent junior doctors campaign.
Corinna Gardner is Acting Keeper of the Design, Architecture and Digital Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) where she leads the collecting and exhibition programme for contemporary design and holds responsibility for the museum’s Rapid Response Collecting activities. Corinna is also part of the team developing the curatorial strategy for V&A East.
Jayna Zweiman combines architecture, art, and media to explore the overlap of physical and conceptual spaces. She co-founded Pussyhat Project, one of the largest crowd-sourced art advocacy projects. She founded Welcome Blanket, currently at the SMART Museum. Education: AB, Brown University; Masters in Architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
Background image | Unsplash, Vlad Tchompalo