Clothes Speak Before You

By Kelly Beall

We all know the phrase, “wearing your heart on your sleeve”, but would you wear your heart on the runway? The Zeitgeist is the “spirit of the times” and is a reflection of, our society’s mood cultural trends. Media coverage of dominating events related to efforts to achieve equality not only influence the way people think and act, but also by what people are wearing. Recently, fashion designers have been influenced by the powerful movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement, female equality and international issues.

A current movement in the United States that is gaining prominence is the Black Lives Matter movement. Support for the movement is showing up in various places in daily life555. Since 2012, after the murder of Trayvon Martin’s, incidences of police brutality, and Collin Kaepernick’s protest against the national anthem, the movement has gained publicity about the fight against racial discrimination and violence toward black people.  The influence protests by the black community on fashion is not a recent thing, this influence dates back the 1960s with the Black Panther party. Today it is visible in the 1970s afro look that Kaepernick himself wears which reflects the image of a Black Panther. The trend has even hit the fashion runways such as the Pyer Moss New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2017 fashion show which featured quotes on the clothing that referenced the movement.

333Another influence in the fashion world right now is the feminist movement. We have seen this impact through Beyonce’s visual album, Lemonade, which deals with the controversial topic of feminism. Beyoncehas so much impact in fashion and this album may help empower women to dress anyway they like,moving away from the ultra-feminine look and wearing clothing that displays them as powerful figures. Hilary Clinton is an icon notably wearing the pantsuit in her presidential campaign, because what’s more powerful than a pantsuit? We see this inspiration added to many designers’ collections.

An111other dominating event in the world right now is Britain leaving the Eu
ropean Union. What started with the British citizens’ protests against accepting migrants from Africa and the Middle Easthas resulted in Britain leaving the European Union, which has had a major affect on the fashion industry. The pound has dropped, causing exchange rate to weaken, which will help with exporting goods by allowing fashion companies to have more competitive pricing. During the time of voting, British designers integrated their political views into their line and runway shows to make a statement. In Viviane Westwood’s London Men’s Fashion Week show, two men walked the runway wearing shirts that said “IM IN”.

In many cases, your clothes speak before you do. So whether or not you agree or disagree with these political and powerful movements, there is a great possibility without knowing you are a part of these trends. When it comes to personal style, let it be personal and make it about you!


Storey, K. (2016, June 24). What Brexit Means for the Fashion Industry. Retrieved September 14, 2016, from

Marian, P. (2016, July 1). What now for “Brand Britain”? How Brexit may affect the British fashion industry. Retrieved September 14, 2016, from

Petracra, E. (2016, September 12). Black Lives Matter Activist: Fashion Industry Has a Responsibility To Use Its Platform for Good. Retrieved September 15, 2016, from

Williams, A. (2016, September 2), Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid Kneel During National Anthem + The Controversial Memes Flooding Your Timelines. Retrieved September 15, 2016, from

Moore. Peter. (2016, February 16). Beyonce Black Panther show not popular, but she needn’t worry. Retrieved September 15, 2016, from

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