Last year when Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director of Christian Dior, was asked by Jess Cartner-Morley why she sent on a T-shirt with the feminism theme and a dose of a political slogan on her debut collection for Dior on the Paris catwalk, she says “Dior is feminine.” “That’s what I kept hearing when I told people I was coming here. But as a woman, ‘feminine’ means something different to me than it means to man, perhaps. If Dior is about femininity, then it is about women. And not about what it was to be a woman 50 years ago, but to be a woman today.”
If you take a look at the 10 most-used words of 2017 list of global fashion search engine Lyst, you will find that over the course of this year, the fashion world has broken its aesthetic realm and has spilled politics onto the runways, with words like “power,” “woke,” and “statement” taking the top three spots consecutively. The list was compiled by analysing more than 30,000 online fashion editorial articles and from 100 different online fashion and lifestyle publications.
The message of Chiuri’s iconic T-shirt, “We Should All Be Feminists”, highly resonated with the street brands with a significant thrust of feminist slogan and awareness greatly channelized by designers like Prabal Gurung, Jonathan Simkhai, and Milly’s Michelle Smith. “Woke” fashions peppered in the runways with more “masculine” pantsuits inspired by Hillary Clinton and the Women’s Marches that took place around the world in reaction to US President Donald Trump’s alleged inappropriate behaviour towards women.
Also, one has to give it to Demna Gvasalia for making word “Ugly” pop in the list with his sky-high Croc platforms at Balenciaga being defined as funny and freaky. “I think it’s very interesting, the definition of ugly. I think it’s also very interesting to find this line where ugly becomes beautiful or where beautiful becomes ugly. That’s a challenge I like. I think that’ a part of what fashion stands for and I like that people think my clothes are ugly; I think it’s a compliment,” Gvasalia said at Vogue’s Forces of Fashion conference.
In addition to “ugly”, niche words like “cult” and “vegan” also made the list owing to the rise in ethical and sustainable fashion. Viewed as a step in the right direction, clothing giants like Zara and H&M are also rejuvenating the fashion market with their sustainable collections, ably supported by Gen Z.
Here see the full list of 2017’s most-used fashion words: