Fashion is often misunderstood. Critics of the industry claim that while successful, the fashion world is pretentious, capitalizes off of people’s insecurities, reinforces unhealthy body images and ultimately serves no important purpose. However, what these critics don’t see is the degree of power fashion holds – not in the ability of a designer to start a new trend on the runway, but in the designer’s ability to speak out about an issue through their designs. In conjunction with both the 2014 Winter Games and the peak of fashion season, Alexander Wang has done just that.
As part of a collective response to Russia’s anti-gay laws, Wang has created a cashmere beanie with P6, symbolizing the Principle 6 campaign, embroidered on the front. The goal of this gay rights campaign, inspired by the Olympic charter, is to encourage athletes, fans and supporters around the world to band together against discrimination and proudly celebrate the Olympic’s sixth principle, which bans discrimination based on “race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise.”
The minds behind this campaign are not only brilliant, but also exceptionally clever. Although Russia recently enacted a law banning LGBT-related propaganda, the campaign promotes strategies that allow supporters’ voices to be heard without violating any Russian laws or Olympic bans on political speech.
The campaign kicked off prior to the 2014 Winter Olympics, but supporters have continued to sport Wang’s P6 gear into the second week of the Games. Celebrities like Rihanna, Olivia Wilde and Cara Delevingne have all been seen donning the designer’s latest masterpiece. Wang wants his P6 gear to be worn by “anyone and everyone who believes in equality and nondiscrimination,” and believes that both principles are consistent with the “spirit of the Olympic Games.”
Social media has been a prominent player in spreading the word about the movement, but the popularity of the P6 apparel has arguably caught the most attention. By using fashion as an advocacy vehicle, supporters are able to non-verbally express their support for the movement without infringing upon any laws. The Principle 6 campaign proves that fashion does serve a purpose beyond acting as a symbol of prestige or style. In fact, fashion can speak volumes. Hats off to the brilliant Alexander Wang!
Want to join Rihanna, Olivia and Cara in the P6 beanie trend? You can find the winter’s hottest and most influential winter accessory at Moda Operandi.