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Monday, January 23, 2017

What They Wore: Women's March in DC

orange is the new whack
The Women's March in D.C. and sister marches throughout the entire will go down in history. Women and their supporters united to protest racism, misogyny, violence, oppression, control over our own bodies and many other issues that are being threatened with the new administration. What they wore was a huge ("YUGE") part of that.

knitting pussyhatThe Pussyhat project is a grassroots movement that quickly spread throughout the world. The call went out to women to make the most famous protest accessory in history using traditionally female arts of knitting, crocheting, and sewing. The photo above is of a few of my crew at the March in Washington D.C and me. The hats were made by the amazing Margarita Soto who wore a sash holding balls of pink yarn around her body and continued making hats all through the march. Watching her knit while advancing towards the White House, wearing ammunition of yarn like a bandolier was my favorite images of the entire weekend. The most powerful image was standing at the National Monument and turning 360 degrees, seeing every street in every direction in waves of pink.
Other powerful fashion statements were women who dressed as their heroes. Those included heroes from history, like Frida Kahlo, Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinem. Women also dressed as fictional heroines like Wonder Woman and Princess Leia. I saw plenty of signs with "A Woman's Place is in the Resistance" as a theme. Closer to the heart were women who proudly wore a hijab in the American flag to pay tribute to the Women's March poster.
womens march dc fashion
In addition to the Pussyhats, protesters created many other more wearable statements. There were t-shirts screened with personal heroines, hand-crafted masks, proud traditional garb customized with pink, to men dressing in drag as a tribute to the women in their lives. I also found intricately embroidered jackets like this one, with the Star Wars resistance symbol and beautiful quotes from pioneering women. Other embroidered jackets resembled sports teams with tough female names or inspiring advice to young women. A fashion designer friend Jennifer Chun wore a pussy bow blouse.

For anyone who discounted the fashion crowd as shallow, apathetic to politics, the last few months proved otherwise. I was proud to see so many of my fellow fashion and Parsons School of Design colleagues at marches in D.C. and NYC. I was proud to see designers like Rebecca Minkoff showing support. I loved seeing my peeps using their fashion and design related skills to make a statement.

Seeing millions at the Women's March and how what they wore empowered them empowered me as well. It showed me that traditional crafting and fashion skills could make history. This March showed me that anything can be accomplished with unity and passion. I am so proud of everyone that supported and participated in the movement around the world.
Photos by Manny and Mariana Leung

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