“Fashion Our Future 2020 is really about giving a space to amplify voices and providing tools for people to be able to speak about issues that matter, educate, participate, and meet people where they’re at,” Erwiah says. “The brands can easily register people on their sites—it’s very low-hanging fruit. There are text messaging possibilities—put it on the clothes. Virgil put it on one of the T-shirts. He has a T-shirt that says ‘Text to Register.’ It’s really simple.”
The product range, to be unveiled next week, blends form and function. There are also face masks and lunch boxes, in addition to Abloh’s tee and another one that reads “Model Elector.” In her DNC address, Michelle Obama said, ‘Pack your lunch; maybe you might be standing there for a while.’ So we’re really just trying to make it as easy as possible and useful as possible because obviously sustainability matters to us too, so we try not to make things for no reason,” Erwiah adds.
It was quick to have the design crowd onboard. Erwiah states that Abloh, Taylor, Glemaud, and Noel, were very imperative to the success of the project, coordinating on Zoom calls and seeking every way to help. “It’s actually more important now than ever that we move with intention and use our voices,” Noel says. “My voice is fashion. So at such a pivotal time, it’s my duty to spread the word about voting, but in the most fashionable way, of course! I wanted to create something universal and versatile that would be fun and wearable. The Fe Noel x Fashion Our Future bandana is the perfect accessory to make a statement with.”
“As designers we express ourselves via clothing and now we are using our collective platforms to effect change and bring awareness that the upcoming election will have long-lasting generational repercussions,” says Glemaud. “I feel that our combined creativity and political awareness might help change our current American political landscape.”
“It’s important to me to use the platform I have to support social issues that I believe in,” says Taylor. “The fashion industry holds a lot of power and I think it’s important designers feel a responsibility to speak up and encourage change, and it is inspiring to see how working together can achieve progress.”
Wearing a t-shirt supporting voting isn’t the end point of the discussion, and Erwiah hopes a tee or lunch box or mask will act as a symbol and a reminder of how important the right to vote is. “I think of my mum,” she says. “[She] is one day younger than John Lewis, and one year older than Till. You know about Emmett Till and the lynching, so think about: She was 14, 15 when it happened in Mississippi. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, she was 25. She didn’t have those rights, and now I have them.”
She continues: “I feel like we can draw these human connections, remember what we have access to, celebrate how far we’ve come, and join together while we’re still united on November 3 and be a model voter. I think that’s something worth doing and it’s inspiring.”