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As designers put the finishing touches on their latest collections, the Council of Fashion Designers of America geared up for Thursday’s descent into New York Fashion Week with an announcement: It stands with Planned Parenthood.
In addition to stating its own support for Planned Parenthood at a time when anti-abortion advocates are pushing to cut the health organization’s federal funding, the CFDA is hoping others in the industry — designers, editors, models, buyers, and influencers — will publicly take the same stance. To that end, the CFDA is distributing bright pink buttons that read “Fashion Stands With Planned Parenthood” to NYFW participants and encouraging them to wear them to shows and document them on social media. Largely, it’s an act of raising awareness rather than money.
Tory Burch, Diane von Furstenberg, Kate Spade, and Zac Posen are among the 40 brands whose designers plan to wear their pins, according to the CFDA. So is Carolina Herrera, who made Ivanka Trump’s inauguration gown.
The pins were designed by the Creative Group at Condé Nast, the publisher of Vogue and Glamour — another corporate statement. Like Vogue’s Anna Wintour, CFDA CEO Steven Kolb was a visible Hillary Clinton supporter during her run for president.
This announcement follows a deafening silence from fashion’s heavyweights on Donald Trump’s immigration ban, which elicited condemnations from tech giants like Google and Apple. While abortion — only one of the services that Planned Parenthood provides, along with cancer screenings and STI testing — is clearly a political issue, it’s not one that directly informs the fashion business in the way that trade, immigration, or environmental policy might.
Reproductive rights, meanwhile, is a women-oriented issue, and womenswear is a women-oriented space. The CFDA’s Planned Parenthood campaign engages pressing politics without getting too deep into, perhaps, the most industry-relevant politics — and while minimizing the potential for customer alienation.
Still, it’s a wide-reaching push for unity from a key force in the American fashion industry, as the CFDA orchestrates much of NYFW and finances emerging designers like Proenza Schouler and Altuzarra through its grant programs. And for some designers, Instagramming a pin with the tag #IStandwithPP could spark a boycott from shoppers.
If the statements menswear designers made against Donald Trump at New York Fashion Week: Men’s last week are any indication, women’s designers may very well address a range of issues through their platforms at fashion week. Fashion often steers clear of the political muck, but if there was ever a time to enter the ring, this would be it.