Fashion is often considered a sector of society that is removed from social and political responsibility. It is characterized by its promotion of luxury, indulgence, and its foundations in lofty ideals. However, there is power in the world of fashion. It has incredible social influence across various communities and societal sectors. A pivotal cornerstone of fashion is the way that people react to and follow trends, a behavior that has the potential to spark positive and necessary change.
Fashion Our Future 2020 (FOF2020) has taken advantage of the fashion industry’s ability to empower youth and disenfranchised voters across the nation. The organization uses trends and influencers through fashion to inspire action. They aim to register 1 million disenfranchised voters to vote in the General Election on November 3. Research completed by FOF2020 shows over 50% of voters are disconnected from the political atmosphere. FOF2020 is connecting with this portion of the voting pool.
FOF2020 is led by Abrima Erwiah and Rosario Dawson, co-founders of Studio 189. Dawson also launched Voto Latino, a nonprofit organization focused on voter registration. Alongside Voto Latino, FOF2020’s goal is to gather data, maximize outreach, and register one million voters. They hope to complete this by the National Registration Day on September 22 to ensure more voices are heard.
“I love our country’s motto, ‘E pluribus unum’, out of many, one. That’s what I see when I look at the number of eligible voters in this country – I see the possibility of us all getting involved, and I imagine what we could do if we joined forces and worked together.” – Abrima Erwiah
The organization tapped Virgil Abloh, Off-White creator and designer of Louis Vuitton’s menswear ready wear line, to be the creative director. Abloh and several other designers released custom merchandise during FOF2020’s event at New York Fashion Week. In addition to partnering with Dawson and Abloh, FOF2020 has collaborated with Annie Jean-Baptiste, Julien Cahn, Proenza Schouler, Visa, IMG, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and Fe Noel.
FOF2020 collaborated with Visa to launch its custom merchandise during NYFW. The Visa x Fashion Our Future 2020 collection includes a Studio 189 face mask, a tote bag by Tanya Taylor, and a Fe Noel scarf. Abloh also designed a sleek “Model Voter” tee as part of the launch. The items can be purchased at The Real Real, Studio 189, or on the FOF2020 website. Shoppers are given voter resources and encouraged to vote throughout the purchase.
The work doesn’t stop though with a line of stylish and powerful pieces. The group has several resources and guides directly on their website for those who are seeking information. FOF2020 provides links to voter registration sites, information on checking registration status, polling locations, and ways to complete the 2020 census. The organization also hosts special events such as virtual workshops, high profile panels, and partnerships with brands like Refinery29 to reach more voters.
FOF2020 displayed how influential the fashion industry can be in social and political spheres. The team is helping to further cement the industry as a catalyst for political change.