With just 33 days to go until the next presidential election, American designers and brands are getting political, urging their customers to vote.
While many brands may skew to the democratic end of the political spectrum, few openly pledge allegiance to either side, in a bid to not alienate followers and customers. Yet more so than at any other time, the 2020 election is unifying the American fashion community to energize voters.
It was only four years ago when designers got political to say they would not dress incoming First Lady Melania Trump. Whether or not that promise held up, brands are now sending another message:
“Our greatest right and privilege as Americans is the right to have our voices heard,” says Kors. A cashmere sweater with the slogan “VOTE” sees the brand donate 100 percent of the profits to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice.
A t-shirt with the text Your Voice Matters made in partnership with Black-owned business FKSP aims to encourage voter registration and participation.
Believe in Better
When former Vice President Joe Biden announced his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, a group of 19 leading American designers including Joseph Altuzarra, Thom Browne, Tory Burch, Jonathan Cohen, Carly Cushnie, Kathryn and Lizzie Fortunato, Victor Glemaud, Prabal Gurung, Gabriela Hearst, Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler, Brett Heyman of Edie Parker, Aurora James of Brother Vellies, Thakoon Panichgul, Monique Pean, Joe Perez, Vera Wang and Jason Wu created a collection called Believe in Better.
The collection includes limited-edition shirts, sweatshirts, totes, scarves, face masks and jewellery that support Biden’s campaign. All items are made in the USA.
Banana Republic in September introduced a Will Work For A Better Republic campaign, partnering with non-profit organisations Delivering Good and Rock the Vote. The latter aims to promote voter registration during this election year with Rock the Vote providing email and text election reminders to those who register.
Fashion Our Future 2020
Founded by Abrima Erwiah of sustainable brand Studio 189 and counts Virgil Abloh as its Creative Director, Fashion Our Future 2020 aims to unite voices from the fashion community in a coordinated effort to galvanize the youth vote.
“This is obviously an extremely important year for the future of our country, so we reached out to thousands of design students to help us increase voter turnout,” the shoe company says on its website. In a design student initiative the brand gave a simple brief: “We make a statement, you make it better,” providing the students with the choice of three messages to use in an artwork: IF YOU DON’T VOTE, WE DON’T EXIST, YOU VOTE, WE EXIST, VOTE TO EXIST.
Dover Street Market New York
On its Instagram DSM states two thirds of young people did not vote in the last election. “Ahead of this year’s election DSM has asked its community in the USA to join in educating, raising awareness and creating a call to action around registering and voting. Merchandise from brands including Stussy, Honey Dijon, Hood by Air, Marc Jacobs and Off White will see 100 percent of profits donated to When We All Vote.
The American election will take place on 3rd November 2020.
Images by Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Kenneth Cole.