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NYFW makes statements about diversity, politics and more on and off the runway

Each season of New York Fashion Week comes with a slew of upcoming trends, styles and looks that has the industry buzzing. But this year, the NYFW focus wasn’t just on the clothes.

Though fashion often tends to be political – designers like Vivienne Westwood have founded their brands based on strong stances – the fall/winter 2017 season of NYFW seemed more public issue-oriented than ever, with even the CFDA getting in on the statement-making action.

From bold messages printed on tees to the subtle tie of a white bandana, here are some of the statements made on this season’s runway.

Political graphics

Perhaps the loudest statements made at NYFW didn't
Photo Credit: Getty Images for NYFW / Neilson Barnard

Perhaps the loudest statements made at NYFW didn't even make a sound. Enter Prabal Gurung's fall/winter 2017 collection, where models sported basic tees printed with political messages including "We Will Not Be Silenced" and "I Am An Immigrant." Gurung used his runway as a megaphone, making his views on the current social and political climate more than heard. Though statement-making, Gurung's idea to display messages on his collection was not unique. Other brands -- including Public School, which paired plaids and oversized jackets with red "Make America New York" caps in a nod to the president's infamous campaign merch -- got political too.

A body-positive runway

Messages of body positivity have been popping up
Photo Credit: Getty Images for NYFW

Messages of body positivity have been popping up more and more often at New York Fashion Week -- and for good reason. Nearly 100 million women in America are considered plus size by the fashion industry's standard, but designers typically show collections featuring styles unfit for that entire demographic. Christian Siriano isn't one of those designers. He's known for casting a diverse group of women, including Georgia Pratt, Marquita Pring and Alessandra Garcia Lorido, who walked in his September 2016 show. Fall/winter 2017 was no different for the designer, who continued to stress inclusivity. Ten of his new styles were worn by plus size models -- twice as many as last season. Victoria's Secret Angel Karolina Kurkova, Iskra Lawrence, Candice Huffine and Pring were among those who helped present his "People are People" theme. Also spotted on the runway this season: Ashley Graham, who was one of the first plus size models to walk a Michael Kors runway.

America the diverse

Indonesian designer Anniesa Hasibuan has been making statements
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Indonesian designer Anniesa Hasibuan has been making statements since her debut back in September. As the first designer to include hijabs in a NYFW collection, Hasibuan, who is known for her modest designs, continued her trend with another empowering line for the fall/winter season. According to a report from Elle, Hasibuan put her garments down the runway on models who were either immigrants to the U.S. or children of immigrants. "I believe everyone should be presented with equal opportunities, especially if he or she has passion, talents and skills, because not all immigrants are 'bad,' " Hasibuan said in an interview with the magazine. "We've proved they are beautiful and a great contribution to the States."

Statement-making bandanas

The #TiedTogether social media movement aimed to make
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The #TiedTogether social media movement aimed to make a bold statement with a simple accessory -- a white bandana. Started by the Business of Fashion via an Instagram post, the bandana was a sign of respecting all, "regardless of race, sexuality, gender or religion." Fashion took note of the #TiedTogether trend, with models, attendees and designers alike sporting the square cloth both backstage and on the runway. White bandanas were also seen outside of NYFW, with Tommy Hilfiger sending bandana-sporting models down the runway at his Los Angeles show.

Pretty in pink ... for a good cause

The Council of Fashion Designers of America --
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Council of Fashion Designers of America -- aka the NYFW gods -- made sure this season wasn't just about the clothes. In a collaboration with Planned Parenthood, the CFDA released NYFW-ready pink buttons, which showed up on models and fashion icons alike; Anna Wintour herself was spotted with the "Fashion Stands with Planned Parenthood" accessory at the Calvin Klein runway show. But the CFDA didn't stop at star-studded support. Every time an image of the pin on social media was paired with the hashtag #IStandwithPP, the CFDA Foundation contributed $5 to Planned Parenthood.

Let the clothes, models speak for themselves

Kanye West is known for turning heads with
Photo Credit: Anne Bratskeir

Kanye West is known for turning heads with his NYFW runway shows (see: Yeezy Seasons 1-4). But the most talked about part of Yeezy Season 5 wasn't even the designer himself -- it was Somali-American model Halima Aden, who stepped out donning a gigantic fur coat and a hijab. Kanye cast Aden through IMG Models, causing a Twitter buzz before the show on Wednesday when the talent agency tweeted news it had officially signed Aden. She's one of the agency's first Muslim models to opt against removing her hijab during fashion shows. The model first made headlines when she competed in Minnesota's Miss USA pageant in 2016 while wearing the traditional Muslim headpiece.


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