Tory Burch in Vote t-shirt

Global news overwhelms me, but not acknowledging the world’s state of affairs makes me feel even more miserable. It is as if I am caught in a tangled web that feels impossible to get through. 

For anyone who feels this, it’s a depressing daily plight even if the news doesn’t directly affect you. But just saying that makes me question my level of compassion, since, essentially, we should care even what happens doesn’t hit home directly because, like the web, we are all somehow connected and responsible for society’s natural progression. 

I don’t fully comprehend the complex structure that is American politics. And I wouldn’t have even understood the importance of the recent midterm elections if I hadn’t seen supermodels on my timeline wearing ‘Vote’ merchandise. Most people say that designers getting on board and becoming more openly political is dangerous, but how else do we survive in the times that we are living in without being able to understand on our terms. 

Democrat Ilhan Omar, a former refugee and the first Somali-American Muslim woman elected to Congress

Of course, I don’t believe all of the designers are getting on board owing to some sort of genuine saving grace in totality because businesses is business. However, more are starting to bear the weight of this overwhelming period that we seem to be living through. After all, art must imitate life and reality if it truly wants to remain relevant. The fantastic part of the ‘Vote’ merchandise being produced, however, is the broad consumer base it reaches. Merchandise being produced by brands such as Tory Burch, Lingua Franca and others sell the broad message of the importance of voting which makes it not specific to any market, well except those who aren’t allowed the democratic right of voting. 

Political merchandise has gotten a serious update from those typical pins and baggy t-shirts that used to be circulated, it has been re-fashioned to target those who want to be interested without feeling burdened. 

It allows for an accessible contact for pressing issues that some of us may not know to navigate or open up about. This is not a concept known to American fashion businesses alone, in fact our very own local politicians have long begun to realize the importance of accessing bases through popular culture. One case in point is singer Lisa Punch on the coalition’s platforms during the last general elections campaign; there have been others.   

I did not follow the midterm elections in its entirety, but I do know that there was a significant number of women who made it to Congress. There is no direct correlation between brands and celebrities and such a result, but it goes without saying that those t-shirts and trendy ‘Vote’ bags had something to do it.

Fashion has been categorized as something shallow and trivial and to an extent certain elements of it are, but it is constantly looking to regain respect since fast fashion plunged its viability into the ground. An example of such can be seen in the MZ Wallace x Lingua Franca bag. The funds raised from the sales of the bag were donated to an organization called She Should Run, which supports women running for office. If that isn’t something, I don’t know what is. 

We may be living a politically and socially distressing time, but there are silver linings if we look closely enough. It may be a worrying time but it is an equally exciting time to be alive, especially since the women elected are going to change the way we once looked at women politicians. To put it gently, I think the compliance into the standard, whitewashed way a woman in politics should look is over. Fashion is trending on the most interesting grounds and it’s helping us, even if we don’t want to, look at the news 24/7.

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