Chanel’s faux feminism


The image of archetypal beautiful women carrying banners and signs emblazoned with slogans such as ‘boys should get pregnant too’ and ‘ladies first’ on the catwalk, whilst adorned in the finest Chanel garments, is one that raises many issues within the fashion industry’s fetishisation of rebellion and counterculture. The embodiment of the spirit of protest purely for commerce is one which stands against everything that socially and politically conscious designers try to achieve in their work. The commodification of counterculture completely contradicts that of say Katherine Hamnett and the political slogan t-shirts she is synonymous for; some of which are on sale at the moment on the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) website. It is the sincerity in which this link to counterculture is achieved in that it is clear for example, Hamnett, is consistent in her work attacking social and world issues she is concerned with. Chanel however are attaching ‘feminist’ principles to a show dominated by a nearly all white, very slim casting, it is near impossible to see any genuine feeling about the causes Chanel are attaching themselves to. It is purely a way for those fortunate enough to be able to buy the garments, to also simultaneously buy into a feeling of rebellion or that the consumer is somehow part of fighting the struggles of inequality through a thinly veiled representation of protest imagery. I am not at all suggesting that fashion must simply sit in a realm of its own with no reference to social causes, however it is incredibly degrading to commodify these causes with no sense of dedication, only perpetuating the acceptibility of the throwaway nature of fashion today.


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