Is there any high profile profession that doesn’t have a link with politics somewhere? Modelling and fashion are no exception. To find out more visit http://www.fashion.arts.ac.uk/research/centres-and-hubs/historicalandculturalstudies/
Once a profession or an individual reaches a certain level of recognition, they are bound to get involved in politics in some way or another. This can be anything from standing for office to signing a petition, and can plunge you into a whole new world.
Joining the Campaign
Modelling and fashion have seen their fair share of political involvement. The relationship between the two worlds varies considerably depending on the themes of the time. The industry was at war with politicians over the 1990s “junkie” look, when many in government and governing bodies felt it was inappropriate and wasted no time saying so. There have been other times when supermodels and politicians have worked together to bring attention to certain causes.
In 1994, five supermodels posed naked for a PETA campaign entitled “I’d rather go naked than wear fur.” The supermodels; Naomi Campbell, Emma, Tatjana Patitz, Heather Stuart-White and Fabienne Terwinghe were part of a massive anti-fur campaign but later, Campbell infuriated the anti-fur world by modelling fur at the Milan fashion show. Supermodel Cindy Crawford, who had been a spokesperson for PETA also signed a contract for a fur manufacturer. What had been a great example of models standing up for their ethics and supporting key fashion campaigns began to look more like opportunism.
Designers and Politics
There are fashion designers who are heavily involved in politics. The most notable is Katherine Hamnett, a key figure in the fashion industry for over 30 years, who is as well known for her passionate political views as for her clothes. Recently, Naomi Campbell appeared on the Hamnett runway wearing a vest which said “Use a Condom”. This, Hamnett said, was to help combat the spread of AIDS in
Africa, where is a huge icon. Hamnett, along with fellow designer Stella McCartney also campaigns for the use of free-trade fabrics and against the sweat-shop production of clothing. Campbell
Also fairly recently, supermodel Carmen Kass announced that she wanted to stand for election as a European Member of Parliament in her home country of Estonia. With the number of celebrities standing for office, particularly in the USA, it may only be a matter of time before we see a modelling icon campaigning for votes.