Feminist stances in fashion are becoming popular. Last September, Karl Lagerfeld sent protesting models down the Boulevard Chanel chanting and shouting. Some argued it took away from the clothes and highlighted its frivolity. Models toted signs saying “He for She”, “Ladies First”, “History is Her Story”. All of these (along with political ones - “Free Freedom” and “Make Fashion Not War”) were truisms. It was the best collection from Lagerfeld in a long time but the spectacle was too much - and I’m a feminist. A young feminist by the name of Claire Barrow presented her Fall 2015 (entitled ‘High Flyers’) collection during London Fashion Week at the BFC Presentation Space in Somerset House. Feminism was on her mind. Female empowerment in particular.
The reimagined flight jacket was a standout item in the collection. High flying women like Amelia Earhart were clearly on Barrow’s mind this season. She too was an empowering, courageous woman. The rust coloured jacket featured faux-fur sleeves and collar. It had Barrow’s signature doodles and two zipper details. That’s a bestseller right there.
Models stood, elevated, on grey platforms. Directed towards them were huge fans that created an amalgam between the indoor, corporate environment and the free, outdoor environment. Delicate silks blew, gracefully, with the force of the wind. Hair was wind swept after the fan whisked it backwards. Some models wore headscarves and faux-fur lined hats.
As per usual, doodles were featured on the coats, trousers, dresses, jackets and accessories of the collection. Dresses featured ghoulish monsters, distorted faces and and sprites. Ominous and macabre looking felines embellished silk trousers. Squiggly lines adorned other items from the collections. Shirts, dresses and skirts were given this treatment by Barrow. The models wearing tights also had coiling lines on their accessories. A silk scarf read “tidy up”, “don’t forget: cold + wet”, “donate tomorrow”, “taxing return for taxi return” - adding the political statement into the collection again. Barrow collaborated with Tatty Devine - who created the jewellery for the collection (see large, dangling earrings).
Barrow is irked by the current economic, political and cultural climate in London. Parts of London’s underground and club culture is being withdrawn in favour of the construction of new high rise flats and offices. Huge conglomerates are taking over the city, depriving independents of a unique city. Politics is one of the most disputed things in the UK after a stirring general election in May. With the corporate world taking over the creative side of London, Barrow is empowering women with her collection. The more I think about the collection and look at it, it is empowering. Transcending traditionalism, rules, ideas and patterns is the dictionary defined ‘creativity'. Everything about this collection was creative and gives women power.
Politics and fashion are two things that together I, personally, dislike. Just last week at Rick Owens’ menswear show in Paris when a German model materialised a piece of white cloth saying “Please Kill Angela Merkel — Not” in block capitals. However, Barrow's political statement was thoughtful, thought-provoking and honest. Those three words are some of the main words to associate with fashion, aren’t they?
Photo Credit: clairebarrow.com