The Washington Post on Gabriela Hearst: Her Clothes Prepare Women for a New Political Era
I stumbled upon Gabriela Hearst because of one of her gorgeous purses. The purse had become viral carried on the arm of beautiful, pregnant, and glowing Meghan Markle. The minute I saw it on Elle USA's IG I shared the picture on my Insta Stories and followed the brand. The purse is called, "Demi."
From first glance Demi stood out. Even on a small iPhone 6 Plus screen. Her construction was clearly superb, creating a slouchy globe shape. Her leather looked soft, expensive, and like it smelled good (I love to smell leather). And, the simplicity of her design was so fitting for royalty - and for gals like me who like to make a statement from Capitol Hill to happy hour.
To me Demi emoted power, elegance, and fashion all at the same time - and today's Washington Post article told me why.
According to Robin Givhan, Hearst's designs - like Demi - are "premised on translating female authority into a fashion aesthetic." Born in Uruguay, Hearst looks to appeal to the professional woman who is unapologetically and BOLDY herself. No wonder I liked the bag instantly!
Hearst also looks to affect change with her collections. Givhan writes the designer believes "fashion, power and politics can be mutually beneficial."
In the past two years, since the presidential election put Donald Trump in the White House, Hearst has also used fashion as a language of political engagement.
Many heard about Hearst after her suit appeared on the cover of Interview Magazine worn by Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Critics claimed the suit sent the wrong message for a then-incoming Member who spoke to the working class. (As if the working class can't appreciate clothing, but I digress!)
While I missed the "frenzy" around the pictures, I appreciate Hearst for the design, the crispness of the suit, and the nod to Angela Davis. By merely intertwining politics, femininity, and professional wear she is taking a risk - one that many have tried, failed, or just never did.
A quick look at Hearst's website shows other accessories named after bad ass women, structured dresses and suits, and even an "ovary" sweater created for Planned Parenthood. I don't see plus sizes, but I hope extended sizes are on the way.
Because, the Washington Post is right - Hearst is helping women prepare for a new political era. And in this era, every woman is going to need to participate!
Several news outlets covered attire worn by new Members of Congress on Swearing In Day. Newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - and her shining white suit paying homage to the suffrage movement, Shirley Chisholm and Hillary Clinton - along with Nancy Pelosi, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley were among the electeds most covered.
While many readers lauded this coverage, sighting the historic number of women being sworn in, others took offense to the fact that journalists were covering what our nation's leaders put on. I don’t mean to preach to the choir but: Give me a break!
Commenting on what these women - and men for that matter, though a little boring, they were discussed too - wore doesn't reduce them to their clothing. The articles don't belittle their importance. In my opinion, it does the exact opposite.
The beginning of a Congress is one of the most historic days one can experience as an elected official. I worked for a Member of Congress, I know.
I imagine that what these elected officials wore was carefully selected. As they took they oath of office, many used fashion as a weapon, a canvas, a threaded platform.
Many women chose colors to advance their issues, traditional garb to shed light on their heritage, and/or pins and prints to bring awareness to topics we don't always talk about. They weren't reduced to clothes - they used them - and news coverage only amplifies their actions.
We all need to get used to a conversation change as we head into this new Congress - one of the diverse ever. Because having MORE women involved CHANGES THINGS - for the better. Policy is less cut and dry, solutions to problems are thought about holistically, more compassion is offered, and a listening ear is always available.
If we can cover what stars wear on the red carpet, we can certainly discuss what Senators wear in the Capitol. Yes, a change in happening across America, there is no reason that fashion can't lead the way.