Fashion is a Art Statement

Slavery is a difficult subject, especially when using it as inspiration, as it effected many peoples life  As I have started to look into the Slave trade beads and slavery. I wanted to research what other fashion designers have been inspired by the history of slavery, if any. After a lot of research, I came across a few examples of slavery in fashion, and what peoples reactions to the work was. For example, Adidas released a shoe, which they later withdrew, because people had felt offended and felt the company were “ignorant” for releasing such a design. The design in question was designed by Jeremy Scott, which featured a adidas high top, with bright orange shackles, the audience found the shackles resembled chains that were worn by slaves, and the bright colours seemed to make the shoes seem light hearted and jokey towards the horrible past of slavery  Although Jeremy Scott had stated that his work was in fact inspired by toys and his childhood memories. After looking at the toy he was inspired by called, My pet Monster. I can see how he came to his final design idea, with the use of purple and bright plastic orange cuffs. the toy being originally marketed as a toy for young boys in the 1980-90’s you can see why the shoe, is bright coloured and in fact doesn’t seem to hint at slavery in any particular way. I think the fault, was in the marketing as the shoe was pictured with the line “Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?” This has no reference to the original source of inspiration and with just the words, “lock your kicks to your ankles” it sounds rather harsh and gives the image of imprisonment.

I also came across Alexander Mcqueen 1997 spring/summer collection, which featured a model walking down stairs in a metal restricting manacle, which looked very difficult and even painful to walk in. Many of the audience and people who viewed it linked the idea to slavery, which Alexander Mcqueen denied, as he actually meant for it to imitate a puppets movement. As mentioned in the book “Fashion at the Edge” By Caroline Evans.

I also came across another designer, Carlotta Actis Barone, who was inspired by slavery and racism, her colour palette for her outfits being different shades of skin colours. The clothing was inspired by slaves work clothes but she emphasised the size of the shoulders, which showed the muscle and strength the slaves had. She also used the slave for sale advertisements as undergarments. I feel this might be to show how we have tried to hide the past but it is still there in every one just beneath other things. I think she is brave to create a collection with such a controversial subject. Although I think fashion should be used in this way, if people do not bring up things from the past then how are we to remember them and learn from them for the future. We cannot hide everything. I think this collection is respectful towards the slaves, which I think needs to be done as these people suffered for no rightful reason.

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