Using fashion to spread a message

Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

From sustainable shopping to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s various judicial collars, people have used fashion to spread social and political messages for years.

One of the most notable accessories that has become a political symbol is President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” or MAGA hat.

Junior Peter Minetos is chairman of the Georgia College Republicans and is proud to express his political opinion by wearing the hat.

“What the message of the MAGA hat means to me is returning the power back to the people to make America great again,” he said.

He sees the use of fashion to spread a message as a form of peaceful demonstration.

“I think that if [wearing clothing or accessories] is the way someone would like to express their political viewpoint, whether you’re in favor, or not in favor of a certain side, I think it’s good,” Minetos said.

Fashion doesn’t need to have political affiliation to be significant or stimulate change.

Trey Brown is a musician and TikToker with nearly 50,000 followers, who gained fame from showcasing their love of skirts and gender non-conforming fashion.

“[With non-conforming fashion,] it’s like walking into a store and not seeing a men’s section and a women’s section, but just seeing the store and taking advantage of the fact that you can express yourself in so many different ways,” Brown said. 

Brown’s style is inspired by street punk and gothic aesthetics, incorporating masculine and feminine stylistic elements and enjoys experimenting.

Infinite Appeal is a fashion and modeling organization at Georgia State. Anyone can audition, despite the harsh standards that the modeling world imposes.

Creative director Alyssa Attride uses her position to remove the binary from modeling. She also uses art and non-conformity to express herself.

“When I get dressed every single day, I think about it as putting myself into drag almost,” Attride said. “I feel like sometimes I am putting on a performance and dressing up as what society perceives as a woman.”

To Attride, art is one of the most potent political and protesting tools.

“I think makeup, art and fashion are huge tools to be able to speak your mind and show your opposition to societal or gender norms,” Attride said.

Denise’Ann Shields is president of Infinite Appeal. She is proud that the organization  focuses on embracing diversity and body positivity.

“Modeling has always been seen as something where you have to look like this or that,” Shields said. “I think that everybody looks beautiful…however you were put on this earth, you are beautiful.”

Shields applauds anyone who wears something that shows what they believe.

“I definitely love that we can use clothes to make a political or social statement without saying anything,” Shields said. “I can show you that I believe Black Lives Matter just by wearing a T-shirt.”

Fashion can be a non-verbal way for people to showcase parts of their personality, aesthetic and beliefs. Something as ordinary as getting dressed every day can spread a message.