The fashion world started 2017 with a bang. Designers incorporated political statements into their collections and it seemed like they were working in unison to promote messages of equality, democracy, and inclusion. In February, we even asked: Is 2017 the Year of Political Fashion Statements? However, as the nation settled into a new routine, it seemed like the statements made on the runway have died down. Recent fashion weeks failed to make headlines about models walking down the runways with "The Future is Female" shirts or Planned Parenthood pins, like those from the beginning of 2017. No matter what side of the debate you fall on, these daring statements at least started discussions about the current state of affairs. By July, the trendiness of making a statement has waned. Chanel, though, is still fighting in their own way: by working with diverse models and creating more inclusive campaigns.
Political Fashion Statements? Chanel's Diversity Issue.In the past, Chanel fell victim to the lack of diversity on the runway much like many other brands. For years, the fashion world was dominated by tall, ultra-thin, and light-skinned models that often made diversity-seeking fashion lovers ask: "why?" Some designers have come under fire for a lack of sensitivity to issues of diversity, ableism, inclusivity, ageism, and appropiation, like Marc Jacobs and the backlash he received after using dreadlocks in his collection and calling them "funny." In the past, Chanel has also received negative publicity for their lack of diversity when it comes to models, which seems to have spurred a change in attitude from the brand. This year, though, amidst all of the political debates, Chanel has stepped up to create an ongoing campaign of diversity. We've compiled some of our favorite 2017 Chanel campaigns that are paving the way for a more inclusive industry.
Chanel x Willow SmithWillow Smith, aside from being the talented daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett, was selected to be Chanel's newest brand ambassador as a part of their Gabrielle bag launch. Outspoken in her quest for diversity, Willow Smith has explained why she believes her campaign will help open doors that were previously closed within the fashion and entertainment industry. Throughout the years, many industry experts and fans alike have pointed out the need for "role models" to exist within the media. From TV shows to movies to the runway, it's important for boys and girls alike to find someone to identify with. And that's exactly what Willow Smith aimed to accomplish with her Chanel campaign. "I know a lot of girls that look like me feel that they're not beautiful and feel like they don't have a place in the media or a place in the world. I want them to know that's not true, and if you're confident and you love yourself then everything you see, your perception, will start to change and you'll see things differently. I want to show those girls that might not think they're beautiful but they are," she commented in her Harpers Bazaar interview.
Chanel x G-DragonChanel has also surprised the world with their collaboration with internationally renowned K-Pop artist, G-Dragon. Much to the delight of many fans, Chanel has put the spotlight not only on G-Dragon himself, but the entire K-Pop and Asian entertainment industry. In a world where Asian films and characters are often cast with the household-name American actors, Chanel has taken a step to proving a place for everyone in the media. Many industry-insiders, actors, and artists have noted that Asian entertainers are often overlooked in campaigns. So, for Chanel to work so closely with G-Dragon to create an innovative and unique campaign, that's a step in the right direction.
Chanel x PharrellA longtime fan of the Chanel brand, Pharrell Williams helped make one of the most bold statements of the 2017 fashion year: men can wear purses too. Okay, perhaps it isn't the most bold statement – but it is a groundbreaking one. Featured prominently in Chanel's Gabrielle bag film, Pharrell confidently wears Chanel jewelry as well as the bag as the film's plot progresses.
Pharrell himself has taken numerous steps to promote and celebrate diversity in the fashion and music industry, including a prior campaign with ADIDAS that aimed to do exactly that. However, Pharrell's specific engagement with Chanel made moves to break down the convention that men shouldn't be invested in fashion and style statements. As the year progresses, we look forward to seeing how the move towards diversity and inclusivity progresses in the fashion industry – and our eye will be on Chanel!
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