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5 of the Most Political Moments in Fashion

Throughout its history, there are fashion designers who touch upon graver topics such as politics, culture and society.

1. Alexander Lee McQueen

Alexander McQueen SS 2001 Voss

Often accused of misogyny, Alexander Lee McQueen stated, nevertheless, that his collections are made to empower women by turning them into strong and menacing creatures. On the other hand, he seemed to be intent on making the audience feel uncomfortable at his shows. His 2001 show “Voss” is an example, as the designer made press and buyers stare at their mirrored selves for nearly an hour before the show started. “Voss” dwelled on issues of mental health and insanity, aggressively questioning the boundaries of normality.

2. Hussein Chalayan

Hussein Chalayan SS 1998, 1997 Burka show

Hussein Chalayan is one of the cleverest fashion designers alive for he is engaged with issues of gender, religion and culture. In his iconic 1997 collection, Chalayan challenged taboos by presenting a collection of burkas varying in length from the one conventionally long to just a headscarf that left the naked body uncovered. Chalayan’s show was a witty but controversial of the female body and image in society.


Dior Haute Couture SS00

John Galliano is a visionary who is inspired from social and historical issues to create discussions that extend beyond the fashion normal definition. Dior’s famous couture collection from 2000 is an example. Inspired by homeless people, the collection is remembered for baggy clothes decorated with torn linings, accessorised with whiskey bottles, tin cups and safety pins; produced controversial reaction.


Margiela’s very first and one of the most memorable collection was staged on a playground on the outskirts of Paris. For Martin Margiela, then a young struggling designer, this derelict playground in the 20th was the only one he could afford. Though not intended as a social commentary, the show provoked mixed reactions as the contrast between the glamorous fashion crowd and the kids from an “underprivileged” area.


Praised for its chic, non-conventional design and bold cuts, Balenciaga by Demna Gvasalia is also persistently reminiscent of the post-Soviet 1990s. Gvasalia’s collections evoke the epoch of the economic instability, political uncertainty and painful disappointment in the Soviet ideal.