Our 10 Fave Feminist Pieces You Can Get Right Now!

We have hand picked our top 10 favourite feminist pieces that you can get your hands on right now. From tees, to totes and necklaces these pieces will help you to express your feminist identity through your wardrobe and smash the stigma around the F-word!

 

  1. The Female Collective – Girl Power Tee

Female Collective TeeThe Female Collective, $30, Size XS to XL

We love the striking iconic print on this unisex tee, timeless and versatile, this is the perfect addition to your feminist wardrobe. The Female Collective, based in LA, was established as a movement to uplift and empower women, check out their range!

2. Elizabeth Ilsley – Hand Painted Custom Jackets

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Elizabeth Ilsley, Email for Commissions

Ilsley’s provocative designs are aimed at “empowering women and getting rid of taboos“, which she evokes through  her hand painted art on jackets, boots and jeans. At just 21 years-old, Ilsley has commissioned for Slaves and her collection is set to grace Liberty of London.  You MUST check out her entire collection here. GIRL POWER!

3. Feminist Apparel  – Activist Socks

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Feminist Apparel, £9.10, US Size 6-10

Feminist Apparel have been combatting the stigma around feminism since launching in 2013 and they have taken smashing the patriarchy one *step* further by adding a feminist sock collection to their line. Now you can stay *grounded* to your feminist roots…

 

4. GRLCLB – Custom Stitched Tees 

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GRLCLB.com, £15-£25, Size XS – XL

The GRLCLB collective hosts a blog with a shop of hand stitched tees with empowering and thought-provoking messages. The tees are single-handedly made by  #GRLBOSS Roobs who also takes commissions for designs. We love the current and meaningful feminist statements made with each top.

5. Local Heroes X GRL PWR – Mesh Crop Top

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LocalHeroesXGrlPwrGang, £45, Size S-M

Local Heroes have teamed with GRL PWR Gang to create the ultimate on-trend feminist collection. WE.NEED.IT.ALL. Go and treat yourself!

6. Denise Bidot- There Is No Wrong Way To Be A Woman Tee

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A Denise Bidot Brand,  $32.99, Size S-XXL

Plus size supermodel Denise Bidot launched the There Is No Wrong Way To Be A Woman campaign to encourage women to feel confident and comfortable in their own skin, irrespective of the restrictive beauty standards imposed on us. We love the authentically diverse ad campaign used for the collection. About time! See it all here www.thereisnowrongwaytobeawoman.com

7. Modern Women – Feminist Art Tote

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Modern Women, $15

LA designer and artist Sarah Faith Gottesdiener established the pro-art, pro-feminist brand Modern Women which promotes intersectional feminist messages on totes, tees and prints. Now you can shop with feminist style with this statement tote!

8. Skinny Dip – Girls Bag

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Skinnydip, £15 (Photo Credit @amodio.alessia)

This glittery baby was LOVE at first sight when we spotted it! Scream GIRL POWER with this pink statement cross-body bag and grab the coin purse while you’re at it!

9. I Don’t Want To Be A Princess – Tee

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I Don’t Want To Be  A Princess, $24.99, S-XXL

The mission behind the I Don’t Want To Be A Princess movement is much needed. Girls are reinforced with pink, frilly messages that they will grow up to be a princess, with the silent ladylike behaviour that goes with it. This movement launched t-shirts for girls and women with an alternative; the tees make statements such as ‘Fierce’ and ‘Confident’, providing girls with a broader and more empowering outlook of who they can aspire to be.

10. Love From Hetty & Dave – Frida Kahlo Necklace 

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Love From Hetty & Dave, £20

Pay homage to the ultimate feminist artist, Frida Kahlo, with this handmade leather necklace. What better way to demonstrate your feminism than by having Frida dangling around your neck? We love the matching earrings and brooch too!

 

We have launched a CrowdFunder page so you can now support our mission of sustaining positive social change through fashion here –> http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/ProjectFEM “One bee can’t frighten an elephant, but a swarm of bees can kill it”. Let’s unite and make the difference we need to see in the world!

 

Author: Holly C x

Fashion in Iran: Censorship, Activism and the Revival

The fashion industry in Iran has very much seen its downfall in the past year. Lets rewind back to 2015, where there was an insurgence of fashion shows with agencies such as Behpooshi and Darab who were government approved to run fashion shows. Things were starting to look positive for the future of fashion in Iran. Designers, models, stylists and photographers were slowly emerging from the underground fashion scene to make an impact on this monumental shift in industry. 

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(Models at Behpooshi preparing for a show)

But within the last year, the Iranian government rained on everyone’s joyous fashion parade, and shackled the industry with the iron bars of censorship. Shackling, in the literal sense for some. Earlier this year and towards the end of 2015, there was an Instagram controversy storm, whereby over 100 industry people (including models, photographers and make up artists) were arrested in a covert crackdown nicknamed ‘Operation Spider 2’. Javad Babayi, Head of cybercrimes court has been quoted in an Iranian local news agency suggesting that the covert operation is being used as a means to, “monitor (the) use of social media by western imperialism powers to change Iranian – Islamic lifestyle 

As a writer, I am currently sitting and writing in the comforts of my western privilege whereby I have the freedom of speech and expression. Notoriously, Iran is not so well known to advocate for these rights. A concept many Iranian industry experts were well aware of. Behpooshi and Darab in particular famously confined under the regulations of the Iranian government in that they ran their agencies in accordance with Islamic values and also used their platforms to promote Iranian fashion rather than the western imperialist dominance Mr Babayi was so concerned about. Behpooshi site has actually (within the last couple of weeks in fact) been shut down.  

13552643_10206532283727472_176808050_n(From the Behpooshi website)

So why then, were prominent Iranian figureheads such as Elham Arab arrested for “promoting western promiscuity”? Whilst male models and fashion influencers were also arrested, the majority of the arrests fell amongst female models that dared to post photos without the required hijab. Are these arrests concerning the clamping down on western influence, reinforcing Islamic values or is it simply the classic dominance of the patriarchy?

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(Elham Arab in court)

The Iranian fashion industry is a huge market, with so much potential and talent. If the industry acts within the confines of Iranian- Islamic values as previously proposed, there is no reason why the Iranian government should not champion the production and influence of fashion within the country. Islamic fashion is certainly gaining momentum, with Dolce and Gabbana releasing a line of headscarf’s and Islamic clothing. With the likes of the popular Iranian fashion brand Pooshema, who are pushing boundaries by creating colourful, modern, shorter styles of the traditional manteaux, there is still hope for a revival in the Iranian fashion industry.  

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(Dolce and Gabbana)

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(Spring Summer 2015, Pooshema)

I managed to get into contact with Mahan Farokhmehr, the mastermind behind Darab. Darab describes itself as:

“A designer of special events and conferences in the fashion field. It expands the innovative designs and fashions and follows international professional designers in the way of creating novel and diverse ideas in the fashion industry.”

 

Darab has recently been dismantled. As a beacon of hope in changing and innovating the fashion industry in Iran, the disintegration of the brand will be a shock to many. Mr Farokhmehr has said that his decision on this matter is due to the “industry, as it became the biggest risk for those who want to spend their time and energy on this field”. On discussing the decline of the fashion industry in Iran, Mr Farokhmehr expressed his disappointment: “we were hopeful when we started, because we thought we could do something in this industry.”

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This certainly is not the end of Mahan Farokhmehr career. He is already looking to expand and culminate young Iranian talent from the underground fashion scene. Below are designs by Nastaran Hashemi, which Mr Farokhmehr helped procure and shoot.  

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We did Modern But With Traditional Textile and Touch Which Made It look Fashionable and at the same time traditional cause I had this concept in mind that we have to do something that involve our culture and traditions” Mahan Farokhmehr

The fashion industry is a new phenomenon in Iran, and my goal is to display a new point of view by presenting designs inspired by different cultures and beliefs, and merging them together, so I can introduce Iran to the global world of fashion –Nastaran Hashemi

With the likes of Mahan Farokhmehr, Nastaran Hashemi and the mighty underground fashion scene, there is hope that there will be a revival of creativity and fashion in Iran.

Author: Nasim Salad

Our Top 5 Change Makers for Diversity in Fashion

We want to highlight those in the world of fashion who are championing diversity and positive change, so we have selected our favourite UK based (or those with a UK presence) change makers to showcase the positive action being taken in the industry today.

  1. Lorde Inc.

Lorde Inc., a London based modelling agency, were established in 2013 by 26 year old founder Nafisa Kaptownwala. The agency recruits only models of colour to encourage racial diversity within the industry. As highlighted in our London Fashion Week article, non-white models are severely underrepresented demonstrating a deep-routed racial imbalance. In an interview with Nylon Nafisa criticises the lack of authentic diversity in alternative agencies, and aspires to normalise non-white models by making them readily available for hire with the aim of making models of colour a principle part of fashion, opposed to the tokenised or culturally appropriated representations that we see all too often.

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  1. Rein London

The designer brand Rein was established in 2015 by London College of Fashion graduates Rebecca Morter and Gemma Vanson, with an explicitly feminist focus on ‘celebrating the female form, inspired by and for women…exploring clothing’s ability to empower’. Rein use visual culture through their designs to challenge social constructions of acceptability with revealing cut-outs and sheer materials. Furthermore, the designers value ethical manufacturing through using only local and sustainable sources. In Rein’s short history, they have already had much success including debuting at London Fashion Week in 2015 and dressing established women such as Lady Gaga. Rein’s success makes us hopeful that we can pave the way for feminism within fashion, not only through designs, but in explicit associations with feminism, sustainability and social action.

  1. Rain Dove

Androgynous model Rain Dove identifies as agender and has modelled for both men and womenswear collections such as Chromat and Malan Breton.  Not only is Rain breaking boundaries of gender on the catwalks, but she is also using her knowledge and experiences to advocate for gender diversity within fashion. In an interview with Buzzfeed Dove explained “The gender thing doesn’t exist; it’s a social construct you don’t have to fit into… I model as all genders. I model as a human being”. Dove takes a refreshingly critical stance on gender constructs and fashion; season by season we see designers construct and reconstruct the idea of gender, of androgyny, femininity and masculinity, but Dove is using her voice to evoke positive change for more genderless clothing campaigns. Dove recognises the power fashion has to change the world and is using her platform to encourage that.

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  1. Claire Barrow

London based designer Claire Barrow debuted her work at London Fashion Week 2013. At just 23 Barrow caught her break when one of her iconic hand-painted leather jackets was featured in Vogue. Not only are we inspired by Barrows journey of running a business alongside a degree as well as maintaining her creative work at just 23, but her ‘do-it-yourself’ ethos which reflects British subculture is culturally and politically engaging.  The inspiration from Barrow’s artwork ranges from feminist statements within girl gangs to recognising the prospects for young people today. We highlighted Barrow in our London Fashion Week article as the only designer to use a plus-size model, and to represent ethnic and age diversity. Barrows used male and female models to showcase her genderless collection, and continues to make political and current statements through her work.

 

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  1. Lucy Jones

In 2015 Lucy Jones won the Womenswear Designer of the Year award for her Seated Collection, which consists of accessible clothing focusing on aesthetic and comfort for wheelchair users. The collection was inspired by a fashion assignment which aimed to change the world; Jones recognised that people with disabilities are overlooked within fashion and wanted to make accessible solutions. To achieve this, Jones researched over 100 people with disabilities, all of whom felt marginalised by the fashion industry. Jones began to notice and solve the issues of accessibility faced by wheelchair users and their clothes, such as reinforcing sleeves and altering the cut of trousers. Jones believes that disability should be considered in a designers approach to design from the outset, as most wheelchair users have to simply make do with uncomfortable and impractical clothing, compromising either style or accessibility.

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Positive and genuinely representative images of race, disability, age and gender is fundamental to diversity within fashion and ultimately to the self-esteem of those observing and participating in it; from watching the catwalks to reading fashion magazines, the singular idealised image of accepted beauty which still permeates the industry is problematic, especially for young women. If fashion does not authentically reflect ethnically diverse, disabled, non-binary human beings, they are further marginalised from a culture which has such propensity to empower and change the world. The change makers highlighted are fundamental to sustaining positive and authentic diversity in the fashion industry, and we must value and champion those choosing to use their voice to create an inclusive culture.

Written by Holly C x

Use Your Voice!

It is fundamental to ProjectFEM that we promote a diverse range of people’s experiences, values and perspectives on our blog. We value hearing about your associations with fashion, beauty and the industry and what it means to you.

Whether you have years of experience within the fashion industry, or are passionate about social justice and creating change. We value each and every contributors voice and perspective.

We are welcoming anyone with a passion for our cause who has experience in writing, blogging or journalism to guest write a post for us. Don’t miss out on an exciting opportunity to voice your views and make a positive change, get in touch!

PROJECTFEM-BANNER ProjectFEM@Hotmail.com

 

Styling Radical Buttons, the Feminist Badge Designer

This week we styled pieces by Radical Buttons, an accessories brand that aim to ‘make the world a less oppressive place, one button at  a time’. Radical Buttons launched last year with the vision to create feminist and social-justice themed accessories to promote self-empowerment and anti-oppression. Half the proceeds of your purchases go to charities and you can customise your own pieces!

We chose the following handmade pieces to style into two different looks:

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The designs make statements on a range of social justice issues that affect women and the LGBTQA+ community to veganism and politics. We love the humour and novelty behind the designs, which makes each piece more meaningful in expressing your identity through your style.

Look 1 – Pink is Power

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In this look, we have shown some versatile ways of styling the badges into everyday pieces. The designs of the badges and necklace have been co-ordinated with the colours of the shirt and coat for an unashamedly pink and feminine look. We should not be ashamed of embracing our femininity for fear of compromising how seriously we are taken by the outside world. Reclaim pink into your style, it holds power and sentiment, and take ownership of being a woman who embraces her femininity without compromising her mission.

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This sentiment also goes for the novelty pumps, fashion should be fun, creative and expressive so own it by pairing cute, unique pieces with Radical Buttons accessories that make powerful statements.

Look 2Express Yourself

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This look contrasts the previous feminine style and makes a number of statements. The badges have been styled all over a biker jacket, which is a big trend for Topshop and Asos this season. Instead of buying into a pre-motif’d jacket, customise your own with motifs and badges that make meaningful statements that express you, your views and your values.

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The all black look has been styled with a mesh crop top and appliqué bralet; this makes a statement of liberation and empowerment by taking ownership of your body regardless of shape or size. We are taught to cover up and wear styles that ‘flatter’, but it can be liberating to show your body in the public sphere, when women are predominantly told to cover up boobs and hide any fat.

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Our love of novelty runs through to this look too. We have styled it with a Chanel-esque perfume bottle bag and an owl pom-pom keychain. While both are on-trend for SS16, this is a fun way to add character and expression to your look.

We believe that self-expression, either through novelty accessories or social justice statements on badges, is fundamental to style. Don’t be a dupe of fashion by buying pre-motif’d jackets this season, create and customise your own with badges that are important and expressive to you. Regardless of what the catwalks and magazines tell us is in season right now, carry novelty accessories through because they create a sense of timeless character and personality for your look.

Show us how you are styling your Radical Buttons accessories, and we will share them on our Instagram page!

Written and styled by Holly C x

Get on Board!

We are recruiting volunteers to join our mission in uniting fashion and feminism to create a positive and empowering fashion culture!

Are you skilled in and/or want experience in social media marketing, fashion, or event planning? Or if you just want to get involved in our mission and love what we do, then get in touch via social media or ProjectFEM@hotmail.com.

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Where did the diversity go? London Fashion Week AW 16

We aimed today, on the closing of London Fashion Week 2016, to post our celebrations and highlights of the diversity, representation and social challenges made by some of the 83 designers showcasing their AW16 designs across the last 5 days of LFW. After New York Fashion Week being considered the most diverse in recent history (pictured below), we expected to see some great statements by designers on this side of the pond.

So, we watched all of the shows through a feminist critical lens, considering the diversity and representation of models in terms of ethnicity, body size, age, dis/ability, and gender. In terms of visual culture, we viewed the designs of garments critically to interpret any challenges of social constructions or socio-political messages.

What we found…

Representative body size – Absent

Representative age – Absent

Disability – Absent

Ethnicity – Almost absent

In terms of ethnicity, we can celebrate that almost half (14/32) of the models selected for the Bora Aksu show were non-white. Although this comes after a backlash against the lack of ethnic diversity in his SS16 show where the models were overwhelmingly white compared to the amount of selected non-white models.

In comparison to this, the majority of designers showcasing this week greatly lacked a genuine representation of ethnic diversity amongst their selection of models. Of 23 models, designer 1205 cast 2 Asian and 21 white models. Rejina Pyo and Pringle of Scotland seemed to tokenise models of colour, with Rejina Pyo selecting 2 Asian and 1 black model and Pringle selecting 2 black models, with all other models cast being white. This pattern trended throughout the majority of the designers’ castings, with Aksu being the only designer to demonstrate a large proportion of ethnically diverse models.

In terms of visual culture and garment design, concepts of gender featured strongly. Christopher Raeburn and Paul Smith featured more stereotypically masculine designs for their womenswear collections. Gender fluidity had a distinct presence within the Phoebe English and Claire Barrow collections, where genderless garments were modelled on males and females.

Claire Barrow was also the only designer to feature the only normal/plus sized model on an LFW catwalk, and the only designer to make explicit statements about gender and gender fluidity.

We also noted that flat shoes continued to trend (thank god ladies, we can still walk throughout Autumn/Winter 16) and the nipple was well and truly freed by Sibling, Barbara Casasola and Felder Felder!

Our round-up: LFW disappoints with an abysmal array of diversity. Whiteness, thinness and youth is trending…Again! There is still no space for disability, ethnic diversity and normal body size on London’s catwalks. Diversity seems to be a trend that simply cannot stay, and for now we will have to stick with New York Fashion Week. However, the statements made by designers such as Claire Barrow and Phoebe English leave us hopeful of the continued challenging of gender norms and stereotypes on catwalks for seasons to come.

 

Tell us what you think and leave a comment!

Written by Holly C x