American Fashion brands are eschewing Neutrality around the Election
While many brands may skew to the democratic end of the political spectrum, few openly pledge allegiance to either side, in a bid to not alienate followers and customers. Yet more so than at any other time, the 2020 election is unifying the American fashion community to energize voters.
Molly Howard, the co-founder of La Ligne, said her brand has never shied away from supporting political causes. In 2016, the company sold a shirt that said “Je Suis Avec Elle,” meaning “I’m with her” in French. But in 2020, the brand, like many, has found itself leaning even more into unabashed political statements and away from a false pretence of neutrality.
The company released on Tuesday a collection of T-shirts and masks designed in part by artist Cleo Wade and emblazoned with calls to vote. One-hundred per cent of the proceeds are going to Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight organization which protects voting rights and helps register people from underrepresented communities to vote. Howard said the brand sold out of over 1,000 masks within the first hour and that its factory in Portugal agreed to rush another shipment at no extra cost to meet demand.
La Ligne joins a diverse range of brands and retailers — including Gap, Old Navy and American Eagle — that are all launching prominent voting-rights-themed collections and campaigns in the coming weeks, particularly with a progressive bent.
Howard said the Black Lives Matter protests that began earlier this year were a major catalyst for the brand to take a more active stance on politics. Howard said, starting in June, she started doing weekly optional check-ins with employees to talk about sociopolitical issues and to gauge how people were feeling about the state of the world. Those conversations helped fuel the brand’s decision to be more vocal about its political support.
The years since 2016 have seen brands like Gap being a little shier with their political statements, according to Alderete. But a pandemic, an election year and a national movement for racial justice have pulled brands back into the fray.
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