In a sense, fashion has always been political. Rising hemlines came with the Nineteenth Amendment. Chanel’s cardigan jacket was a form of liberation, no matter how chic it looked. In the ‘90s, Gaultier famously made statements about diversity, sex, and the freedom to love whom you wanted. Think of Hamnett’s stop-the-nukes T-shirts, or Westwood’s anti-Thatcher rants. There has been no shortage of fashion activism, and some of it has been quite acute.
The difference today is that while there is more political commentary in fashion than ever before, the intent of it — sincere, or commercial, or a strange mix of both — is harder to discern.