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Brief Published: 7 Oct 2014

Catwalks S/S 15: Feminist Appeal

Chanel S/S 2015

Feminism is currently commanding the fashion world’s attention – with Karl Lagerfeld its unlikely protagonist.

Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2015 show in Paris ended with a protest march, with models Cara Delevingne and Gisele Bündchen leading the way, brandishing placards and using megaphones to shout feminist slogans. While some in the media were turned off by the display, arguing Lagerfeld co-opted feminism for his own commercial gain, others – particularly fashion editors – appreciated the nod towards feminism’s current command of media attention.

 At the back of Lagerfeld’s throng, a male model touted a banner branded with ‘HeForShe’, in reference to the UN global solidarity campaign fronted by British actress Emma Watson, which aims to engage one billion men and boys as advocates of gender equality. Watson’s impassioned speech on the issue was widely reported and shared on social media, with 171,682 men to date signing up to the movement, and celebrities from Jared Leto to Matt Damon lending their support.

 An upcoming show at London’s Design Museum also explores fashion’s relationship with feminism. Conceived by internationally renowned architect Zaha Hadid, Women Fashion Power will look at how women in power – from female CEOs to designers and models – use fashion to define and enhance their position in the world.

Feminist values are currently entering the fashion mainstream, and brands need to be on the right side of this discourse if they are to appeal to consumers – particularly millennials, who value honesty, integrity and equal rights. For further reading on how feminist values are underpinning consumer mindsets and behaviour, see The New Feminism Opportunity, Icons of New Feminism and Feminism.com