Two weeks ago an array of celebrities attended the 75th Golden Globes in an annual celebration of the past year’s television and film successes. But on this special occasion, the night will be remembered for much more than just the awards handed out to the selected winners.
Host Seth Meyers’ managed the hard task of integrating humour into an event dominated by the recent exposure of Hollywood’s sexual misconduct. Oprah Winfrey offered an inspiring speech as she accepted her Cecil B. DeMille award. But the main talk of the night was the ‘Sea of black’ which took over the Red Carpet. Celebrities wore black in a protest against the inequalities and prejudices existing in the work place in support of the developed ‘Time’s Up’ campaign.
In case you don’t know, the campaign dedicates itself to subsidising legal support for individuals who have experienced sexual harassment or related retaliation in the workplace. Formed by a group of passionate celebrities, activists, and lawyers the Time’s Up campaign was the talk of the night. Yet, as is with everything in the year of 2018 the protest wasn’t without its scrutiny. Critics – and by critics I mean the keyboard warriors of twitter – proclaimed: what does a load of privileged (dominantly white) actresses and actors dressing in black do to help those facing injustice? It’s a fair question. So, what role does fashion play in such circumstances? To be frankly honest, I would argue quite a lot.
From years of reading Vogue, ELLE, and Glamour magazine, as well as following numerous designers and models on social media I’ve been brought up to realise that the way we dress fundamentally expresses who we are – even if we don’t want to admit it. What we choose to wear in the morning is a conscious decision of letting the world know what type of person we are. Even those who decide to dress in simpler, more practical clothes, who would argue they didn’t care for fashion are still expressing who they are.
Ever since I was a little girl I hoped to be a Fashion Designer but never felt I expressed myself enough through my style to take that step forward. And in the digital age run by Instagram and Snapchat, we’re constantly obsessed with what other people are wearing and we’re also constantly scrutinising it. A celebrity unfollow can cause an uproar and the same is true for a controversial piece of clothing (or lack of). Whether we boycott a brand for being offensive or whether we choose to invest in it because we admire it for its values, we live in a society where conscious decision like these demonstrate the important role clothing plays within it.
“Fashion has never sat on the sidelines of political or social revolution”
Yet, this awareness of clothing is nothing knew: in a fitting article in this month’s Vogue, it talks about how fashion has never sat on the sidelines of political or social revolution. From the ditching of corsets, to the short hair of the Jazz years, even to Hillary Clinton’s pant suit. Fashion has been liberalising people for years and has offered an accessible form of individual expression to everyone. For that reason I say we cannot ignore the importance one piece of clothing can mean to one individual. If as is in the case of the Golden Globes wearing a colour represents the support of a campaign with a deeper meaning, then I am behind it all the way.
It may seem meaningless and unimportant to some but, the emotion I felt as I watched woman after woman turn up in black to use the platform that they were given to unify, celebrate and support one another was to be honest overwhelming. Women of all backgrounds, ethnicities and race collaborated together by their choice to wear black and I don’t think there is anything much more powerful than that. Behind the sea of black is a campaign which has raised over €15 million dollars and which will continue to expanding as people’s minds begin to change.
“…the emotion I felt as I watched woman after woman turn up in black to use the platform that they were given to unify, celebrate and support one another was overwhelming”
What we wear isn’t going to change the world, no. To believe in that would be to be naive to the realities of the changes we need to make under the surface, but, what fuels us and makes us commit to changes is a unity fronted by what we wear. When walking down the street and I come across someone wearing a band t-shirt I like an instant connection and understanding is formed without even using words. We cannot stay silent but, we can use fashion to express our affinity through our differences.