Fashion as activism
A Panel Talk with designers and protagonists
Panel Talk 19.00h until 21.00h – held in the upper floor
Speaker: Frank Peter Wilde – Fundus – Owner, Fashion – Collector Stylist. Political activist on Instagram with fashion charged photos for Ukraine.
Gesine Foersterling – fashion – designer and lecturer at Burg Giebichenstein/Halle – representing her young students who study fashion to use fashion as an activist tool
Liz Thieme – founder of Rebirth Studios – an upcycling label and agency for minimising textile waste
Mean Goddess – interdisciplinary artist and domme – uses her power to expose toxic and anti – feminist structures in our culture
Moderation: Jan Kage/ gallery owner – musician & radio host on FluxFM
DJ Peeps as Outro – finishing talks – more ambient – no disco – drinks@bar welcome
In the positive case, fashion has a transformative power that makes it possible to break social norms and stereotypes and to break new ground. A pioneer in this field was the Austrian-American designer Rudi Gernreich, who revolutionised the fashion industry in the 1960s and introduced a cross-gender aesthetic.
Gernreich, who was homosexual himself, used his designs as a means of activism to break social taboos and promote acceptance of LGBTQ+ people. He created garments that were gender-neutral and independent of sexual orientation. His most famous design was the monokini, a one-piece swimming costume that left the upper part of the body exposed, making it a symbol of sexual liberation and could also be increasingly used again in today’s Berlin bathing establishments.
Gernreich fought for women’s rights and campaigned against discrimination against people with disabilities. He wanted to avoid submitting to a fashion doctrine, he attacked conventions, polarised and encouraged outraged reactions. His fashion was not meant to constrict the wearer, but rather to feel like a second skin. He chose unusual colours and materials. His artistic demands struck a chord with the generation of artists of his time and became a stimulus for critically understood art production.
His silk scarves are still an important part of his collections and are appreciated by fashion enthusiasts all over the world. The scarves carry messages such as “War is stupid”, against the Vietnam War or “I love you”, addressed as love and acceptance to the LGBTQ + community. Timely and more relevant than ever before. They were and are a much copied means of breaking social norms and encouraging people to stand up for change.
Fashion as a political stance has experienced a renaissance in recent years. More and more designers are standing up for social justice, sustainability and equality.