Fashion As A Form of Self-Expression

Categories: ClothesFashion

Fashion is a form of art, and like art, it is expressive. The top fashion houses constitute a major part of the fashion industry and the products that they make, and the way they communicate the same, makes a huge impact. It reaches out to a mass audience who don’t just view fashion as clothing, but as a medium of expression. This mass audience is made up of different types of peoples, with different identities and it is important to communicate the same.

Feminism is a movement of change. It encourages equality in all respects, and fashion is a great medium to express the same. A lot of top design houses have taken the platform to express this movement and bring about a change in society.

Coco Chanel, a woman known for fighting to free women from the constraining clothing of that time, set a wave of feminism from the start. Her brand Chanel, now under the creative direction of Karl Lagerfeld, made a mark with it’s Spring/Summer’15 campaign which was essentially a feminist protest march.

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The Grand Palasis was transformed into ‘Chanel Boulevard’, a recreation of Paris Boulevard. It was nothing short of a manifestation of the French street life. The anthem of the show was Whitney Houston’s ‘I’m every woman’, and rightly so, as the show consisted of top models waving feminist placards and chanting slogans. The show began with a peaceful protest as models stepped out in garments ranging from the classic Chanel suit to psychedelic paint splattered patterns.

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The accessories too had slogans that subtly hinted at the protest theme. The finale was the highlight and a beautiful sight to see. Signs of ‘Make fashion not war’, ‘Ladies First!’, ‘Women’s rights are more than all right’, ‘We can match the machos’ celebrated the movement in all it’s glory. The show also saw support for Emma Watson’s campaign for gender equality with an eye catching use of the slogan ‘He for She’. Through this campaign of Chanel, the lines between fashion and feminism were more blurred than ever. It proved the revolutionary power of fashion.

What says feminism better than women empowerment. Maria Grazia Chiuri became Dior’s first female creative director and her debut collection was iconic. Dior’s Spring/Summer’17 collection embraced individuality of women by sending out the message of ‘There is no one kind of women’. This was seen by the mixture of sporty and fragile style across the collection. Romantic dressing was paired with sneakers and fencing-inspired suiting was also spotted. This made the collection more relatable, practical, and was refreshing to the eye. However the star moment of the show was when a simple slogan t-shirt was sent down the runway, which said - ‘We should all be feminists’. This t-shirt was the highlight of the entire show and become a trending item in no time. The t-shirt was a huge hit and became a popular pick amongst celebrities like Rihanna, Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman, Chiara Ferragni, and many more. It was also seen as a constant throughout the Women’s March in various cities. The influence of all of this was so huge that the t-shirt become a street style staple. It was a must have on everybody’s list. This t-shirt was more than just a style icon, it represented a bigger idea. It encouraged and educated about the concept of feminism. It made a huge impact in getting this message across to the audience and make it relatable for them. Through this initiative by Dior, the concept of Feminism ideologies on clothing became a huge hit. It made feminism not just a topic of discussion, but a part of one’s lifestyle.

Works cited

  1. Chanel. (2015). Fashion Manifesto. [Runway show]. Paris, France. Retrieved from
  2. Dior. (2017). Spring/Summer 2017. [Runway show]. Paris, France. Retrieved from
  3. Schild, J. (2017, October 24). Why Dior's 'We Should All Be Feminists' t-shirt is a game-changer. Forbes. Retrieved from
  4. Milne, A. (2015, October 6). The Chanel feminism protest that made fashion history. Harper's Bazaar. Retrieved from
  5. Yotka, S. (2015, October 6). Chanel Spring 2015 Couture. Vogue. Retrieved from
  6. Leow, J. (2018, April 17). From Coco Chanel to Maria Grazia Chiuri: Feminism and fashion. NUYOU. Retrieved from
  7. Jaeger, L. (2018, June 14). How feminist fashion became cool. The Independent. Retrieved from
  8. Al-Khalili, L. (2019). Feminist Fashion: The Evolution of the Gender Revolution. Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, 23(2), 233-250. doi: 10.1080/1362704X.2019.1599676
  9. Nault, E. (2018). The Fashionable Expression of Feminism: How Fashion Trends Reflect Feminist Ideologies. Social Sciences, 7(8), 137. doi: 10.3390/socsci7080137
  10. McRobbie, A. (2013). Feminism, Style, and Youth Culture. In The Aftermath of Feminism (pp. 45-61). London: Sage Publications.
Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Fashion As A Form of Self-Expression. (2024, Feb 03). Retrieved from

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