Fashion / Fashion News

Cate Blanchett and Bella Hadid’s dresses at Cannes are a reminder that fashion is a form of PROTEST

Cate Blanchett's Palestine flag dress from Haider Ackerhman is a reminder that fashion is a form of PROTEST

"There’s the politics on your phone and the politics on your street. And, yeah, there’s the politics of your clothes." – Virgil Abloh


You may have seen it overnight. The pictures from the Cannes Film Festival red carpet. A radiant and smiling Cate Blanchett, tossing out the train of her custom black Haider Ackerman dress to reveal a striking green panel that, paired with the vibrant red carpet underfoot, created a subtle but striking homage to the Palestinian flag.

Blanchett has long used her platform to advocate for the plight of those in Gaza – recently speaking to the European Parliament Plenary Session as a Goodwill Ambassador the the UN's Refugee Agency, to ask for an "immediate humanitarian ceasefire" in Gaza.

Cannes had preemptively banned Palestine protests during the 11 days of the event – but Blanchett and Ackerman's statement was heard nonetheless, a healthy reminder of one of the core pillars of fashion… PROTEST.



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Why are fashion and politics interlinked?

Fashion is inherently political. There are no two ways about it. Just like Miranda Priestly's 'cerulean sweater' monologue – you can think you're not participating, but the act of wearing clothes (no matter how haphazardly you dress or shop) is tied to capitalism, trends, socioeconomic factors and political agendas.

Whether you're shopping fast fashion, supporting specific designers or Houses, donning cultural garments or slogan tees – it's all a part of the politics of getting dressed.

Suffragettes extended their ideals about women's liberation to the clothing they donned – opting for denim, trousers and miniskirts. African Americans challenged social stereotypes by turning up to Civil Rights Movement protests sharply dressed in suits or dresses and stockings.


Other celebrities who have used fashion as protest...


Who: Bella Hadid at Cannes

What: The supermodel has always been markedly vocal about her Palestinian heritage, and Hadid has always understood the inextricability of fashion as a vehicle of expression. Her support for the state of Palestine has been palpable on her social media accounts. Bella Hadid stepping out at Cannes in a red and white keffiyeh-inspired look is no different.

Wearing: A statement dress fashioned from a keffiyeh in support of the ongoing plight in Palestine.


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Who: Lady Gaga at the MTV VMA 2010.

What: Always looking for ways to champion her community, Lady Gaga made waves early in her career when she donned a dress made from real meat at the MTV VMAs, worn in protest of the US Military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy that prevented service members from being open about their sexuality. She walked the red carpet with several members of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, and later spoke on the Ellen Degeneres show, saying that "If we don’t stand up for what we believe in... pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones." The policy was repealed the following year.

Wearing: Franc Fernandez


Who: AOC at the Met Gala 2021.

What: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made waves when she attended the Met Gala in 2021 wearing an ivory gown embroidered with the words: "TAX THE RICH". While it certainly leant into her left-leaning political stances, it also made waves for its double-standards among her critics.

Wearing: Custom Brother Vellies


Who: Joaquin Phoenix

What: Phoenix wore the exact same Stella McCartney tuxedo throughout the entirety of the 2020 awards season in a bid to promote a more sustainable approach to fashion and waste reduction within the industry. He won the Oscar for Best Actor in the suit, too.

Wearing: Stella McCartney


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A post shared by Stella McCartney (@stellamccartney)


Who: Billie Eilish

What: Billie Eilish and her family have always been passionate advocates for animal welfare and environmental causes – so when she was asked to the Met Gala by Oscar de la Renta, she agreed on one condition: that the House stops using fur. For good. Oscar de la Renta's CEO said that animal fur still made up a meaningful amount of sales and profit for the House, so the negotiation made quite a meaningful difference.

Wearing: Oscar de la Renta


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