In the face of political un-rest in the United States, many fashion companies remain silent in a bid to protect their brand reputation; Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Carolina Herrera, Tory Burch and Oscar de la Renta from LVMH, a European multinational luxury goods conglomerate, have declined to comment on President Trump’s recent immigration ban.
However, not everyone in the fashion industry is turning a blind eye to the issues happening around the country. Whether this is a constructive approach or not, several brands such as Sophie Theallet, Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford have declared their refusal of dressing Trump’s wife, Melania Trump, as a sign of protesting against his presidency. While design houses like Raquel Allegra and Marimekko showcase support to the Women’s March on Washington through donation.
Opening Ceremony, a brand transpiring the aura of American heritage, is also one of those who are willing to take strong political stance publicly. Inspired by pictures of immigrants entering Ellis Island from the 1800s, designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim reinterpreted this idea into denim, colourful sweats, overalls, and a series of unisex hoodies, tees, and tanks featuring empowering language – ‘DEFY’, ‘FIGHT’, ‘PROTEST’, ‘ACT’, ‘UNITE’, and ‘CHANGE’.
“We call them action words…it was about empowering youth and giving youth a voice. Those pieces were meant to be this call to action, the idea of giving freedom to each and every individual.” – Leon
Humberto Leon and Carol Lim (The Hollywood Reporter, 2017)
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Opening Ceremony Spring 17 collection | Photography Courtesy of Vogue
Instead of holding a banal runway show, Leon and Lim collaborated with Justin Peck, the Resident Choreographer of New York City Ballet, to stage a protest-spirited ballet performance entitled The Times Are Racing. Spinning and leaping along with pulsating beats coming from the soundtrack of Deacon’s 2012 album America, dancers are models presenting the Spring 2017 collection. They change from leotards to dynamic street wear, pointe shoes to sneakers, presenting soul-stirring movements which utter pertinent sentiments for the current political climate.
Fashion highlights and creates trends. Fashion creates a spectacle, and gathers the crowd. Using the influence of ‘brand’ to call action and advocate for positive change, Opening Ceremony is definitely a force contributing in solidarity, against anti-inclusion movements.
The Times Are Racing will be presented on stage in February and May, at David H Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
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