Fashion Takes a Stand

“I Am an Immigrant”


Behind the scenes of the video, photo courtesy of W magazine

Janet Han, Photojournalist

This years recently concluded New York Fashion Week was jam packed with various political outcries. W magazine put together a protest of their own through their special video, “I Am an Immigrant.” The video was recorded over a period of six hours and included 81 of the fashion world’s most prominent immigrant designers and celebrities. Each of these people stood before the camera to say “I am an immigrant” for the black and white video that caused major impact.


Even within the hectic week that New York Fashion Week proved to be, these designers, stylists, models, and so much more took the time to record the video. They were working together to show the world just how much immigrants are contributing to the American fashion scene. Without these immigrants, many of the most vital trends or styles that are known to be uniquely American would not exist at all.


The video featured numerous fashion celebrities, who asserted the fact that they would not be there if they had not immigrated to the United States. Many other artists, whose parents were immigrants, or had partners who were immigrants, also chimed in to create the video or to be interviewed for W magazine’s piece that went hand in hand with the video.


Diane von Furstenberg, a Belgian-American designer, finished off the video by stating that “I am an immigrant and America’s been good to me.” Behind the scenes, W’s creative and fashion director, Edward Enninful complimented the British stylist and editor Grace Coddington, affirming that “She came here before all of us. She’s done a lot for American fashion; a lot of us wouldn’t be here.”


During the show itself, a number of designers showed their support for the campaign against the new president’s policies. The front row of Jonathan Simkhai received “Feminist AF” T-shirts, and during Prabal Gurung the models walked the runway with “Yes, We Should All Be Feminists” and “The Future is Female” shirts. Meanwhile, many designs reflected political stances in more subtle ways, by incorporating them into the clothes as Raf Simons did with looks that celebrated American diversity.


The video and the overall political statement New York Fashion Week made was emphasized by the model Anja Rubik. The Poland native mentioned that “Fashion, like social media, is an intimate form of expression,” and added that “Fashion has the power to actually create trends—not just trends like ‘What’s In: blue or red?’ but social statements and social trends. So the fashion world should be even more engaged.”


Sarah Chen (9), was a firm supporter of the message the video had to convey, adding that

“America is built on the blood and sweat of immigrants who came here build new lives. They have contributed a great amount to American culture, from their lifestyle and beliefs to their music and sense of style. Without the impact that immigrants have made on America, this country would not be as unique and diverse as it is today.”

As Donald Trump’s term begins, the United States as a whole is growing increasingly uneasy. The clear political stances that New York Fashion Week displayed prove that the fashion world is doing their part to show the country and world exactly what they support.