Today is International Women’s Day, and we’re more aware than ever that things need to change. The fashion industry is finally beginning to understand that, which is important because fashion plays a role in setting the tone for popular culture. Here mark five times that feminist themes took over the runways.

Dior Autumn 2018
Ever since she made a memorable debut with slogan T-shirt reading ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ on the runway in SS16, Dior’s artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri has proven her ability to combine feminism and high fashion. The Dior Autumn 2018 collection took place on the anniversary of the Paris protests of 1968. Exactly 50 years ago, the country faced social revolution, when citizens held marches and occupations. From the walls to the floor everything was covered in a patchwork of women’s rights slogans and images from vintage magazines. In terms of clothing, the collection was a dedication to the revolutionary period of the 1960s.

 

Dolce&Gabbana Autumn 2015

Before the 1960’s, women were expected to exist in a controlled environment, and were primarily viewed as child bearers. Successive waves of feminism have given women a trusted voice of reason, a right to vote and an opportunity to exist beyond their gender. Motherhood became just one facet of what it means to be woman. With their AW15 collection, Dolce&Gabbana celebrated womanhood. The runway show included pregnant women, women with their kids, and young mothers; narrating the story that women can do all and be all, and that motherhood has evolved with womanhood.

 

Missoni 2016

Some might see plain-old pink beanies with ears, but these hats are a protest tool for a feminist organisation that encourages sisterhood and solidarity among women. Missoni was supporting the founders of the Pussyhat Project, bringing awareness to the Women’s March. The designers state that when the beanies are worn by all the protesters, there will be a visual statement that will force the audience to engage, because in the end it is all done for unity.

 

Prabal Gurung Autumn 2017

Prabal showed us what a feminist looks like in 2017. For his AW17 collection, the designer made a bold statement by sending T-shirts down the runway emblazoned with ‘The Future is Female’, ‘Voices for Choices’ and ‘We Will Not Be Silenced’ on a diverse set of models. Our favourite slogan had to be ‘This Is What a Feminist Looks Like’.

Chanel Spring 2015

Chanel wouldn’t be Chanel without a touch of feminism. Gabrielle Coco Chanel became famous for freeing women from uncomfortable, restrictive clothing in the ’20s, creating new ways for them to dress in times of war. Almost 100 years later, it’s Karl Lagerfeld’s turn to show his support for women. And what else than a staged protest at the end of his show: models took to the streets; Cara Delevingne and Caroline de Maigret even had megaphones in hand. The parade of models included Kendall Jenner, Georgia May Jagger, Edie Campbell, and even Gisele Bündchen, all of whom were thrusting signs in the air that read ‘History is Her Story’, ‘Feminism Not Masochism’, ‘We Can Match the Machos’ and ‘Ladies First’.