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Feminisme is natuurlijk geen modetrend zoals zwierige broeken, afzakschouders, regenjassen en 90’s streetwear dat zijn. Maar de modewereld met haar invloedrijke entourage van celebrities heeft zich recent luid en duidelijk achter de vrouw geschaard.

Het ‘grab ‘m by the pussy’-akkefietje is in vruchtbare bodem gevallen, maar ook los daarvan was de mode al aan een opmerkelijke pro-vrouwenmars bezig. Dior’s ‘We should all be feminists’ t-shirt uit de debuutcollectie van Maria Grazia Chiuri is een van de symbolen van deze trend geworden. Alle aandacht in de mode-industrie voor girlpower, diversiteit, gender en realisme in beauty is een positieve boodschap, en dat is met name voor het jonge publiek een welkome trend.

Modefabriek draagt graag een steentje bij om de feministische movement ‘alive and kicking’ te houden en doet dat deze zomer met een expositie over een eeuw vrouwelijke iconen in fashion, van Marlene Dietrich tot Beyoncé. Meteen bij binnenkomst zetten deze powervrouwen de toon: als je je plek in de wereld op wil eisen, doe het dan met stijl! Zoals Vivienne Westwood zou zeggen: “When in doubt, overdress!” Of dat andere icoon van onafhankelijkheid en stijl, Coco Chanel: “A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.”

Het thema feminisme zal niet ontbreken in het #LEARN-programma van Modefabriek. De MF Talk van Irene van Doesburg van Studio Anne-Irene, Forecasting & Fashion Design, gaat zelfs helemaal over haar trendforecast ‘The Future is Female’. Zij ziet de roep om gelijkheid en diversiteit als een van de grote thema’s in de wereld en in de mode. Angela Missoni deelde bij haar laatste show Pussy Riot mutsen uit om te dragen tijdens de Women’s March. We zien moslima’s met hoofddoek op de catwalk, als het Somalisch-Amerikaanse topmodel Salima Aden, en steeds meer diversiteit in huidskleur, gender en body type. Comme des Garçons, Vetements, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton en Céline, de meest smaakbepalende designers zetten sterke en streetwise vrouwen neer, of decoreren haar juist extra vrouwelijk zoals Prada en Gucci. De vrouw van nu is ‘unapologetic’ zoals dat zo mooi heet in het Engels. Ze is wie ze is en zegt nooit sorry!

Het vrouwenpower-thema laat mode van haar krachtigste kant zien; als een leeftijdloze global community, een creative force, en als een machtig communicatiemiddel. Laat je inspireren door ‘More than Mode’ op Modefabriek: 9 & 10 juli in RAI Amsterdam!

De Powervrouwen die op Modefabriek worden geëxposeerd:

Katharine Hepburn, 1907 – 2003

She’s known as ‘The First Lady of American Cinema’ and was officially declared ‘the biggest female film legend of all time’ for the record number of Oscars she won. But it is her powerful eccentricity – wearing pants rather than makeup in the notoriously sexist film industry – that wins her a top position on our list of feminist icons!

Grace Jones, 1948 – present

Supermodel, actress and extravagant pop star Grace Jones is one of the most powerful black female icons. More so, this Bond Girl’s androgynous beauty, immortalized by Jean-Paul Goude, has worked miracles in making our fashion vocabulary more diverse in gender, age and race definitions.

Anna Wintour, 1949 – present

‘Nuclear Wintour’ is a title you have to deserve. The Devil Wears Prada and the box office documentary The September Issue made sure everybody outside of the fashion industry also got to know this Britisch-American powerhouse. Vogue may not be particularly feminist, but ‘Dame’ Anna Wintour sure is.

Pussy Riot, 2011 – present

Russian feminist, LGTB-activists and political protest punk rockers Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich of Pussy Riot showed the world what fearlessness it takes to stand up to Vladimir Putin. They suffered imprisonment, but continue to take the stage to speak up for freedom.

Marlene Dietrich, 1901 – 1992

German singer and actress Marlene Dietrich ranks in the upper regions of supreme Hollywood divas and she didn’t hesitate to pull her female weight against fascism during WWII. Other than that she made the ‘top hat and tails’ a perfectly acceptable look for women.

Coco Chanel, 1883 – 1971

Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel not only made her legendary ‘rags to riches’ career at a time when women of standing weren’t even supposed to work, ‘Coco’ also freed women of the corset. Until this very day ‘Mademoiselle Chanel’ is respected for her keen business sense and visionary contribution to our understanding of style.  

Oprah Winfrey, 1954 – present

She is known as the ‘Queen of All Media’, North America’s first and only multi-billionaire person of colour and the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and she did it all on her own. Oprah’s revolutionary talk show broke all taboos and became a symbol of inclusiveness and self-improvement.  

Frida Kahlo, 1907 – 1954

Immortalized by her folk art style self-portraits, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo became an icon for indigenous people, feminists and the LGBTQ movement, alas, post-mortem. During her lifetime she was known as the wife of artist Diego Rivera and an eccentric personality suffering from disabilities due to childhood polio and a severe traffic accident at age 18.

Patti Smith, 1946 – present

She’s called the ‘punk poet laureate’ and is as much a living monument in New York’s cultural landscape as she is in fashion for her iconic androgynous style, as recently revived in her memoir ‘Just Kids’, about her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Patti Smith refuses to be associated with feminism saying ‘I believe in human rights’.

Madonna, 1958 – present

Ever since her first record deal in 1983 she has worked her way up, one iconic transformation or controversy after another, to become the absolute ‘Queen of Pop’. Madonna is the best-selling female pop artist ever and her uncensored girl power has been an undeniable inspiration to generations of girls and men of various gender identities.  

Vivienne Westwood, 1941 – present

She’s responsible for making punk and new wave fashion mainstream, and until this day she is widely admired for upkeeping her iconic fashion house as much as for storming the stage with her civil rights protests and environmental activism. Dame Vivienne proves that women with balls never go out of style.

Miuccia Prada, 1949 – present

She is owner and head designer of her family’s luxury goods company that has also acquired stellar fashion houses Jil Sander, Helmut Lang and Azzedine Alaïa. Apart from her near-untouchable position as a female in the luxury business and in contemporary art, Miuccia Prada’s fashion is dedicated to women’s intelligence.

Angelina Jolie, 1975 – present

Being as famous for playing Lara Croft as for divorcing Brat Pitt (among others), Angelina Jolie is also an awarded humanitarian. Women’s right’s are merely one of her many causes but speaking openly about her preventive mastectomy and removed ovaries made her a heroine in a league of her own.

Beyoncé Knowles, 1981 – present

She sold over 100 million records as a solo artist, and another 60 million with her group Destiny’s Child, she holds the record for female Grammy Award nominations and for winning MTV Video Music Awards, but above all that, Beyoncé is a figurehead for girl power and girl curves.

Emma Watson, 1990 – present

The British actress and model first caught our attention as a junior feminist playing Hermione Granger in Harry Potter films and one of her most recent roles was Belle in Beauty and the Beast. What earns a spot on our list is her role as UN Woman Goodwill Ambassador launching the HeForShe campaign for gender equality.

Dianne von Fürstenberg, 1946 – present

Known by her initials ‘DVF’, the Belgian-American fashion designer has built her femme-friendly fashion enterprise on the early success of her jersey wrap dresses. Diane von Fürstenberg has been the President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) since 2006 and in 2014 Forbes listed her the 68th most powerful woman in the world for her philanthropy and women’s causes.

Maya Angelou, 1928 – 2014

The black American poet, writer and civil rights activist Maya Angelou may be most famous for her first autobiography ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings’, and she became one of the first African-American women who were able to publicly discuss their personal lives and freed other female writers to “open themselves up without shame to the eyes of the world”.

Amy Schumer, 1981 – present

Comedy Central superstar Amy Schumer won our hearts playing ‘heightened versions of herself’ in her shows – Inside Amy Schumer, Behind Amy Schumer – and guest starring on Girls. Apart from making us all laugh and think about sex and feminism, she is the champion of embracing a realistic self-image.

Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884 – 1962

She was the longest serving First Lady of the US but she wasn’t just sitting pretty; President Truman later called her The First Lady of the World, bowing to her human rights achievements. She showed women they too could be in power. In her New York Times obituary, she was called “the object of almost universal respect.”

Hedy d’Ancona, 1937 – present

With her tremendous track record in Dutch politics as a member of the senate, European Parliament, secretary of state and minister for the labour party PvdA, Hedy d’Ancona is just as known for being the founding mother of feminist protest group ‘Man Vrouw Maatschappij’ and feminist glossie Opzij.

Chimamamanda Ngozi Adichie, 1977 – present

The Times described her as ‘the most prominent’ young writer to attract readers to African literature. Chimamamanda Ngozi Adichie reached an even bigger audience with her TEDx talks, like the one in 2012 called ‘We should all be feminists’, which famously echoed in Beyoncé’s 2013 hit song Flawless and in Maria Grazia Chiuri’s openly feminist debut collection for Dior.

Yoko Ono, 1933 – present

The Japanese multimedia and performance artist, singer, songwriter and peace activist Yoko Ono is too many most famous for being the wife and widow of Beatle John Lennon, with whom she did the iconic ‘Bed-Ins for Peace’. She’s also an influential feminist and supporter of same-sex marriage.

Simone de Beauvoir 1908 – 1986

As a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, theorist and political activist, Simone de Beauvoir notoriously lived and worked side by side with Jean-Paul Sartre. Her highly controversial 1949 book Le Deuxième Sexe (The Second Sex), in which she debunks man’s domination of women, is considered the starting point of second-wave feminism.

Gloria Steinem, 1934 – present

She was the face of American feminism in the 60’s and 70’s and the co-founder of Ms. Magazine, a famed liberal feminist title. Articles like ‘If Men Could Menstruate’ (Cosmopolitan) and ‘What Would It Be Like If Women Win’ (Times) are classic feminist reader material.

Hillary Clinton, 1947 – present

The former First Lady and the first serious female candidate for presidency of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the example for women and girls looking to smash that glass ceiling.

Sheryl Sandberg, 1969 – present

As Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and first female on Facebook’s board of directors, Sheryl Sandberg is a feminist icon in the global tech industry and beyond. In 2012, she was named in the ‘Time 100’ list of most influential people in the world and her book ‘Lean in: Women, Work, and the Will to lead’ (2013) is the handbook for women fighting sexism and discrimination on their career paths.