Fashion is often thought of as a fanciful industry without any objectives or substance. However, fashion and politics has very often been intertwined. Firstly, it can be used as a reflection of the political and socioeconomic changes in society. For example, the hemline index is an economic theory that shows in periods of recession and austerity the fashionable hemline lengthens and in periods of growth and prosperity the hemline shortens. Fashion can also be used as the political statement in itself. That could be in the form of collective dressing - like the celebrities who donned black at the Oscars in solidarity with the Me Too movement - or by using the runway show as a form of political performance art, like in Hussein Chalayan's highly controversial spring 1998 collection which showed a series of increasingly shorter takes on Islamic traditional dress posing questions about attitudes towards Muslim women.
Political fashion can also be worn in a single piece using the beauty or eyecatching nature of the outfit while also displaying the wearer's convictions or calling to others with the same values - a form of individual activism. Below I'd like to showcase some of the best political vintage garments we have had, past or present, showing pieces from different designers that all make a punchy political statement. Please remember this is just to show how fashion can be used as political art and the views expressed by the designers don't necessarily reflect our own.
1989 Katharine Hamnett - 'Clean Up Or Die'
This stunning denim jacket is by political fashion doyenne, Katharine Hamnett. It has studs creating broken hearts, crossbones and skull & crossbones with 'clean up or die' across the bottom.
1980s Moschino - 'Fur Coats Are Worn By Beautiful Animals and Ugly People'
This amazing jacket is actually the second we've had from this collection, the first one we had sold in minutes and it is no surprise! This museum worthy jacket has the bold animal rights focused statement 'fur coats are worn by beautiful animals and ugly people'. It was created in a short pile faux fur fabric for Moschino's 'Fur for Fun' collection which was aimed at showing how fake fur can be just as good as real fur without the cruelty - an ethos which Jeremy Scott has carried on as creative director of Moschino.
1994 Moschino - 'Save Nature'
I wanted to show this piece next as it ties in perfectly with the previous jacket. This 'Save Nature' jacket was created just a few years after the 'Fur for Fun' jacket. This was part of his final collection and really shows the vision Franco had for his fashion house. The collection was named Ecouture (from eco and couture) and were made from organic cottons and other enviromentally friendly fabric. The labels from this collection also have 'Nature Friendly Garment' embroidered on them. It was a great sadness that Franco passed away so early as it would have been incredible to see if he would influence other fashion houses to be more eco friendly and where he would go next.
1990s Destroy by John Richmond - 'Destroy. Disassociate. Disorder.'
This jacket is by John Richmond for his cult-status Destroy line. I chose this jacket (which sold a while ago) because it sums up this line's political identity perfectly. It has punk style patches with statements like 'guns kill', anti drugs and 'Destroy Agent'. It also has Destroy's anarchic philsophy on the back 'Destroy. Disassociate. Disorder.'
1990s Carlo Colucci - 'The American Dream. Make me a Millionaire.'
This sweater is interesting because its intent is rather ambiguous. It could be a satirical poke at American materialism or it could be an aspirational statement expressed by the likes of hip hop stars at the time.
6 Key Designers who were known for creating political vintage fashion.
Jean Paul Gaultier
There are so many more examples of politics in fashion in single garments, from Gaultier putting men in skirts in 1994 or Vivienne Westwood's entire career so please check out some of our favourites on our pinterest board below.
From the S/S 2006 collection, our latest arrival is a Valentino yellow silk gown, as seen on the runway. For this collection Valentino was quoted as saying that his mission was to "stand apart from all the fake couture that has dominated the runways for the past few seasons".
See the dress featured at 13:29
Voguesaid of the collection, "Valentino rose to the challenge, upping his already haute luxe factor and sending out a spring collection that was fresher and lighter than it's looked in a long time".
Hopefully if you’re on this site, you love vintage as much as we do! Well, if you do we know how hard getting your next fix these days, with quality vintage getting rarer and rarer. We were pondering this when we stumbled upon new vintage clothing directory, ‘The Vintage Map’.
The Vintage Map lists vintage shops, both online and brick and mortar, all over the world - so no matter where you are, you can find your nearest vintage paradise. That is of course, after you've gone over all the available options at Zeus Vintage ;)
Be sure to pay them a visit, it’s worth a look as you might find a new vintage shop near you that you didn’t even know existed! And don’t forget to check us out in their luxury vintage section.
Ever bought a vintage dress, or even thought about buying one and then not known how to care for it? Well fear no more, we’re here to give you 3 quick handy tips for keeping your vintage clothes lovely for many more years to come!
First things first, unlike modern clothes, vintage clothing is often made of higher quality natural fabrics such as silk and wool, despite their many advantages such as drape and feel they can be a little more delicate with ironing. Plus ironing is so boring!
Fear not! One of the best things we can possibly recommend for vintage and high-end clothing in general is getting a garment steamer which have many advantages, firstly they’re quicker and much easier than ironing and can be used on any fabric without any damage (barring leather and suede which don’t wrinkle anyway) and yes that includes silk chiffons and dry-clean only items.
They’ve saved us much time and worry about getting iron shine or burning holes in fabric. We bought only the best for our vintage, the Fridja F1400 in colour ‘Marc’, which is used by the likes of Berlin Fashion Week and The X Factor and cost us around £140 (http://fridja.com/product/marc-f-1400-professional-garment-steamer/) but you can get cheaper ebay ones that do the job just as well, but have less settings on for about 25 quid, about the price of a good quality iron. Did I mention how much I despise ironing?
This is possibly the most debated subject surrounding vintage clothes and we will definitely write a longer more detailed post on this later but here’s a quick summary.
Many vintage fanatics don’t agree with machine washing any items, but there are exceptions that can be machine washed if done carefully. Thick polyesters and similar synthetics from the 70’s onwards can often be washed without a problem. If a fabric feels strong and it says on the labels that it can be machine washed it probably still can be, just try to keep it on a cool wash and don’t put it in the dryer.
This is probably the best way of washing and is definitely recommended for pre 1960s vintage clothing, just make sure to avoid hand washing ‘dry clean only’ garments as they might be more likely to shrink and the small amount the dry cleaners might cost, should save you money in the long run if you shrink the dress by washing. However, if you’re careful ‘dry cleaning recommended’ garments and silks, cotton and synthetics can be washed. Make sure when washing silk to hand wash in COOL water. Here is a handy guide on washing vintage clothing (http://vintageclothing.about.com/od/alterationcare/tp/cleaning_vintage_hub.htm)
If in doubt why wash at all? Any odours can be taken care of with a quick steam and an airing and to get rid of any bacteria on your clothes, leave your clothes in a freezer for a day or two - killing all the germs on them. Issey Miyake is known to do this, and who are we to question the master of pleats? If you think about it, how often do you wash your heavy winter coats? Not very often I’d bet.
How to deal with pesky moths
Moths, moths, moths!! Something vintage fans and sellers alike hate with a passion (yes I hate them more than ironing) they have fabulous taste and always eat the best clothes. As with life, prevention is the best cure when it comes to moths and no I don’t mean stinky mothballs, lavender and cedar wood work just as well at making moths stay away. For some reason moths hate these delicious smells and you should take advantage of this! Pack up lavender in cloth bags and hang them amongst your clothes, you can find these in most gardens, as lavender is very popular or you can buy it ready bagged from pound shops or supermarkets. Cedar works just as well and you can get cedar hangers or but these usually stop working after a while so be sure to replace them regularly.
We use dried lavender from our garden.
If you do get moths you can find many moth traps on eBay to get rid of the males so they can’t reproduce, then put the clothes in the freezer for a few days as it kills off the eggs before they hatch, as it’s the babies that eat the clothes not the adults.
And there it is! A quick summary on how to care for your vintage clothes, we’ll definitely be going more in-depth on these issues later, but for now that’s all folks! Enjoy wearing your vintage and feel peaceful in the knowledge that it’s easy to care for.