After the CFDA’s Steven Kolb hinted about a new fashion week campaign that would touch on the recent Charlottesville protests, news broke today that the CFDA will team up with the American Civil Liberties Union on a NYFW initiative called “Fashion for ACLU.” Similar to last season’s pink Planned Parenthood buttons, more than 50 designers will distribute blue ribbons to demonstrate their support.
“We want to be on the front line, not the sidelines, to boldly fight to protect our rights and freedoms, which has taken on a renewed urgency after the heart-wrenching events of Charlottesville,” Kolb said in a press release. “Our goal is to actively support concrete work that will move our country meaningfully forward. The ACLU is doing that critical work.”
The civil liberties group, which fiercely defends the First Amendment and has been instrumental in fighting back against the Trump administration’s policies, most notably the travel and transgender military bans. But it’s worth noting that it came under fire recently after defending white supremacists’ right to march in Charlottesville and protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. An ACLU leader in Virginia even resigned, tweeting, “What’s legal and what’s right are sometimes different.” Still, the ACLU has a history of advocating for the rights of LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, and women—all of whom are instrumental in making the fashion industry tick.
The CFDA noted that designers like Adam Selman, Alice + Olivia, Derek Lamb, Diane von Furstenberg, Everlane, Monse, Narciso Rodriguez, Opening Ceremony, Prabal Gurung, Public School, and Tracy Reese have all agreed to participate, whether by handing out ribbons at their shows and presentations, using hashtags like #StandWithACLU on social media, and incorporating the tagline “Fashion for ACLU” in some way. Lyft is also getting in on the action—the carpool giant will donate $5 of every ride to and from fashion week events to the ACLU when passengers use the code “FASHIONSTANDS” in the app.
“I’ve no doubt that the individual and collective voices of the fashion industry proclaiming ‘We the People’ will resonate far beyond the runway this September,” said ACLU executive director Anthony Romero.
It's great to see the CFDA and its designers standing up for this cause, but here's hoping the activism goes beyond Instagram-worthy ribbons and sexy T-shirt slogans.