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Fashion in the time of the 2020 US election

Updated: May 8


This year, the political commitment of brands has been noticed more than ever during 2020 US elections. Real political commitment or "Votingwashing"? In 2017, on the occasion of his first Parisian parade under the leadership of artistic director Demna Gvasalia, Balenciaga was inspired by the campaign logo of Bernie Sanders, then Senator and the Democrat candidate for the American presidential elections the previous year. It wasn’t clear whether it was support for the Bernie campaign or simply a marketing coup.

During this American election 2020, fashion was committed and politically engaged; with brands like Ralph Lauren, Levi's, Gabriela Hearst, Thom Browne, Joseph Altuzarra, Louis Vuitton, Patagonia, Staud Clothing, to name a few, Political slogans and calls to vote during these elections were very loud.

In 2020, fashion called for voting. The latest fashion and political appeal to date was made by Patagonia, known for its environmental commitment, expresses its political opinions frankly on the labels of its clothes: "Vote the assholes out". While most brands remained more discreet on the political parties they support, the evidenced in the call for mass votes (and therefore to gather more votes against Donald Trump) was unequivocal.

Fashion and politics in 2020: real commitment or a marketing trend? If in previous years brands were rather reluctant to talk about politics, it seems that they have radically changed their position on the subject. But ultimately, is the call to vote for luxury houses and many fashionable brands the result of a flagship trend of 2020 on which the fashion industry is happily surfing or is it real political commitment? Like greenwashing, fashion and political bias divides, even if calls for votes, whatever their motivations, are more important than ever.

May Fall-Kadouf CEO Elemntz LTD