change and resistance: the power of fashion to make a difference

when you look at fashion, what do you see?

glamour. fame. money. fashion shows and runway models.

it looks as far away from us as it can be. looks like something we can not influence.

but, is that really true?

not really

true fashion, mixed with real intensity and artistic expression can stir real emotions and bring real change. it gives the society an outlet to release their frustrations and fight, especially in times of turmoil and uncertainty.

so let’s look at some important and iconic moments in history where fashion became the outlet for change and resistance.

fearless fashion movement of east berlin

when society places restrictions on everything: from how to think to how to dress, cracks will eventually appear in the system. cracks, through which creativity and art escapes to fight repressive regimes and build a new world order. something similar happened in 1980s east berlin where there were strict rules and regulations on how to dress and act.

amidst the restrictions, there was a growing underground fashion movement that aimed at subverting power. independent designers and stylists came together to fight the power and they called themselves “the mob”. they rejected the notion that to create something, you must live in the free western world. they designed clothes that were vibrant and unwearable designs as an antithesis to the plain and practical clothes that was sold as the clothing of the masses. it also fuelled the punk scene where people wore ripped clothing and hard aesthetics.

that is the testament of true fashion: to be able to live and dress as you please and in times where conformity and restrictions were at their highest, fashion has always created a space for true artistic self-expression.

the modest rebel fashion of the civil rights movement

America in 1950s and 1960s was rampant with racism. while the times have progressed, and there has been considerable progress in fighting racism, it did not come without a hard fight. black people fought the power with everything they had, and fashion played a big role in their fight. black people were stereotyped as lazy and inept, so they began to dress sharply and modestly to refute the stereotype. women wore button-ups and cardigans with sophisticated stockings.

denim, that is today seen as just another outfit in our wardrobe, had become the symbol of the black freedom struggle.


 the black panther party and the rise of black counterculture in fashion

while the civil rights movement gave way to a sophisticated and modest style of dressing, the notorious black panther party adopted many cultural aspects from Africa like headwraps. the black panther party revolutionised the dressing style with the infamous black beret which was picked after black panther nationalists saw a movie about the French resisting the Nazis during the World War II.

like the movements above exemplify, fashion has a lot of power to emote and express the disruptions and frustrations of an uncertain and transient time. it gives voice to revolution, subverts stereotypes and makes space for the disenfranchised.

that is the sentiment of fashion that we follow. the sentiment that goes beyond seasonal trends to find something deeper and more valuable.

we hope you find self-expression through us as we move forward.

be you. live aastey.