Fashion is a form of expression as it carries a feeling of belonging and individuality. Your individual style is a way of saying who you are, without having to speak.
With so much happening in our world, it is important to not forget the Pride movement, which is still fighting for equality, awareness and understanding.
The LGBTQ+ movement has had an influential effect on every aspect of the fashion industry. Equality in style choices is being demanded with unisex collections now being on the rise as gender fluidity begins to blur the lines between men’s and women’s departments. Freedom is the largest theme of our generation, demonstrating how consumers want to feel comfortable in their own skin, therefore pushing boundaries and refusing to fit into certain pre-established ideas of style.
With fashion being a pioneer of self-expression, it has played a large role in celebrating Pride month as a movement as well as a form of demonstration. Pride month is an opportunity to peacefully protest and raise political awareness of current struggles the community faces. The first Gay Pride march took place in the US back in June 1970 and was to commemorate the Stonewall Riots which sparked the global gay rights movement. The riots began after New York police raided a well-known gay club, the Stonewall Inn, which led to six days of protests and violent conflicts with law enforcement.
Marsha P. Johnson was a key figure who not only partook in the Stonewall Riots as an African American transgender activist and pioneer but also went on to found STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries). Johnson dedicated her life to helping others and her activism is still celebrated to this day.
However, Johnson’s fight is not yet won as her message is still being protested 50 years later due to modern-day marginalisation. Although around 500 LGBTQ+ events have been cancelled globally due to pandemic concerns, the spirit of pride isn’t suppressed that easily… a wave of digital pride celebrations is upon us, with @Globalpride2020 promising the support of royalty, presidency and influential celebrities.
Here at YFW, we pride ourselves on the feeling of community that has been built throughout York, connecting the city through a love of expression and fashion. Previous years have shown how it is a safe place for individuals to be themselves and to express their character through art, beauty and fashion. However, we want to do more. Every year we find ourselves learning more and more about the LGBTQ+ movement and we want to play a role in raising awareness for a community which influences the fashion industry so heavily.
Words by Lauren Dodds