For me fashion has always been an escape from the so-called “real world.” From the time I could walk I remember playing dress up with both my dolls and myself for hours on end. As I got older, fashion–whether it was reading magazines full of it, illustrating it or photographing it–was there for me during tough times throughout my teenage years.

And, when I got to college in the fall of 2012, I started taking fashion much more seriously (and professionally!) after landing an internship as a contributing style and beauty writer for The Campus Companion, a college media network based in Massachusetts.

Though I had been exposed to both fashion and politics my entire life, I remained pretty off-put when the two seemed to merge more greatly than ever during the 2016 presidential election. I often found myself thinking, fashion is supposed to be a getaway from the stress of everyday life, but now the two are so intertwined.

Multiple times a week there seems to be a politically charged incident in the fashion industry making headlines all over the world. From t-shirts and panties emblazoned with slogans to reports of editors refusing to sit next to First Daughter Tiffany Trump at a runway show, New York Fashion week was filled to the brim with prominent political undertones.

23-year-old First Daughter Tiffany Trump smiles in the front row of Philipp Plein’s fashion show [source: New York Daily News]

On Monday, February 13, President Trump’s younger daughter sat front row during Philipp Plein’s Fall/Winter 2017 fashion show. Former Wall Street Journal columnist Christina Brinkley tweeted a photo of Tiffany Trump with several empty seats next to her.

“Nobody wants to sit next to Tiffany Trump at Philipp Plein, so they moved and the seats by her are empty,” she wrote.

Days later, on February 16, Brinkley tweeted the following:

“The two seats remained empty for about 2 minutes before others sat there. Then Philipp Plein’s sister made them move so she could sit there.”

However, a report from New York Daily News by Minyvonne Burke states otherwise.

“Several fashion editors took to Twitter revealing that people were scrambling to move their seats because they didn’t want to be near the 23-year-old,” according to Burke.

Alyssa Vingan Klein, editor-in-chief of Fashionista.com, tweeted on the 13th:

“Seating shitshow at Philipp Plein because no editors want to sit near Tiffany Trump. SHOCKER.”

Senior fashion editor at Elle Nikki Ogunnaike responded to Klein’s post, implying that she and other editors chose to relocate because of Trump, according to Burke.

“We moved and are down the hall. Come thru,” Ogunnaike tweeted in response to Klein.

After reports of the incident went public, television personality Whoopi Goldberg condemned the fashion editors’ behavior at Plein’s show and defended Trump on her daytime talkshow The View.

Empty seats next to Tiffany Trump shot by Brinkley [source: Twitter user @BinkleyOnStyle]

“You know what, Tiffany, I’m supposed to go to a couple more shows. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m coming to sit with you,” Goldberg said the day after the incident.

“Because nobody’s talking politics. You’re looking at fashion! She doesn’t want to talk about her dad! She’s looking at the fashion!”

Though Goldberg has been “extremely vocal” against the President, according to Fox News, she “understands how Tiffany Trump must feel” and is willing to put politics aside.

“I don’t want to talk about your dad, but, girl, I will sit next to you. Because I’ve been there where people said, ‘We’re not going to sit next to you.’ I’ll find your ass and sit next to you!” Goldberg continued.

Trump responded via Twitter later that day with the following statement:

“Thank you @WhoopiGoldberg I’d love to sit with you too!”

Amid the chaos, Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin, designers behind the label Tome, “sent one of their models down the runway wearing the pink Planned Parenthood pin,” according to Forbes. The two also donned “Stand With Planned Parenthood” t-shirts during their show’s finale.

Prabal Gurung, a designer who created a t-shirt for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, according to Forbes, dressed models in statement-making t-shirts for his show’s finale. While leading the pack, It girl Bella Hadid wore one that read “The Future Is Female.” Gurung himself wore a “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like” t-shirt.

A model wears a “Make America New York” cap at Public School during New York Fashion Week [source: Inquisitr]

At Public School “creative directors Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne took a more parody approach to the political statement,” according to Forbes.

“Models sporting red ‘Make America New York’ baseball caps walked to a remixed version of Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land.”

The red hats stitched with white writing mimic President Trump’s widely known “Make America Great Again” campaign caps. Chow and Osborne also showed various pieces reading “We Need Leaders” during the fashion show.

Perhaps the most explicit statement against the President came from Mexico-born designer Raul Solis, who has worked for the likes of Proenza Schouler and his own label LRS, according to Dazed.

Underwear reading “No Ban No Wall” at Raul Solis [source: Dazed]

Models at Solis’ Fall/Winter 2017 wore visible underwear that read “No Ban No Wall” and “Fuck Your Wall” as they paraded down the runway.

“My family is first generation Mexican and some had to migrate to the US, (so) this issue is something extremely personal to me,” Solis tells Dazed.

“I would not be able to present my collections if it was not for the opportunities the country has given us.”

Though these big-name designers definitely stirred up controversy during New York’s biannual Fashion Week events, reports suggest many of them felt it was the necessary course of action given 2016s president election and the decisions made by the new administration since taking office last month.

“Showing in a city made up of such a melting pot of cultures as New York, [Solis] felt ‘it would seem wasteful to have a platform and not be able to speak up on an issue that is extremely important,’” according to Dazed.

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Kanye West is no stranger to the spotlight, and he is often on the receiving end of praise for his sense of style, which he passed on to his wife Kim Kardashian and daughter North West, 3, over the past several years. So, it was no surprise when the 39-year-old rapper released his first clothing line, known as Yeezy Season 1, in late 2015.

On February 15 West debuted Yeezy Season 5 during New York Fashion Week. The rapper-turned-designer showed 31 looks–both men’s and women’s–which were largely monochromatic and mix-and-matchable. Models included Playboi Carti, Luka Sabat and 19-year-old Somali-American Halima Aden, according to The FADER.

The mood inside Manhattan’s Pier 59 studios was intimate and fast-paced, lasting only 15 minutes, according to Highsnobiety. Thanks to a four-sided pillar that projected all 31 looks, there wasn’t a bad seat in the house despite the extremely dim lighting.

[source: Twitter user @DondaCreate]

Arguably his most famous–and most copied–collection is Yeezy Season 3, which features flesh-toned tattered sweats and t-shirts (both cropped and oversized) and sneakers, known as Yeezys, in collaboration with Adidas. On the heels of this collection came the s0-called “athleisure” trend that is still in full force today, as well as the rise of flesh-toned, skin tight leggings and bodysuits.

This season, however, West favored richer, darker hues like maroon, army green and charcoal. There were also four sky blue and turquoise-toned looks that featured flannels and high-rise jeans reminiscent of the 1990s grunge fad. Additionally, the Atlanta-born, Chicago-raised father of two showed several styles of baggy outerwear, including bombers, pullovers, weatherproof coats and two luxe, full-length furs.

Still, Yeezy maintained its signature sportswear vibe. Its fans are drawn to the relaxed and more comfortable style because it works better in today’s fast-paced world, making Yeezy an innovative and influential name in the fashion industry.

“Instead of a wistful nostalgia for the past, or a storied worship of hard-wearing goods, the clothes celebrate America as it is, not a bleary eyed look at ‘the way we were,'” according to Jilan DeLeon of Highsnobiety.

In other words Yeezy Season 5 features several notable Western-inspired silhouettes, while incorporating 21st Century wearability.

Though West himself did not make an appearance on the 15th, his wife Kim sat front row alongside Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour and even motioned for Wintour to join her backstage after the show, according to the Chicago Tribune, West’s hometown paper.

[source: Twitter user @DondaCreate]

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It seems everyone has been loving fishnet stockings this season, and I am definitely on the bandwagon. Last week I decided an oversized white pair was the perfect change of pace from the basic black pair leftover from Halloween. So far, they’ve been making a great transition piece from winter to spring given the mild weather we’ve been having in West Virginia.

I also picked up an old school denim miniskirt from Poshmark that I’ve been oh so obsessed with styling because it is super versatile. To play it safe I found a plain, medium rinse denim mini (originally from Guess Jeans), and I just can’t get enough of it. Denim minis make the perfect alternative to all my favorite jeans; they match everything, but they’re much flirty-er and more feminine.

The white fishnets and this denim mini are a match made in heaven. I absolutely love the classic, vintage vibe the white and denim combo gives off, so much more than I love black and denim together. So, I’ve been styling this look with plain white t-shirts and bodysuits. It looks clean and put-together, but it is still really simple and casual.

I tied everything together with a faux fur statement coat and black Chelsea boots, and opted for no other accessories or jewelry besides my nameplate necklace.

Faux fur coat, Free People, no longer available

Bodysuit, American Apparel, $26

Fishnets, thrifted via Poshmark

Denim miniskirt, thrifted via Poshmark

Booties, Free People, no longer available

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It girl and mega babe Emily Ratajkowski–better known as @emrata–caused quite a buzz on February 13 when she tweeted the following:

Sat next to a journalist from the NYT last night who told me ‘Melania is a hooker.’ Whatever your politics it’s crucial to call this out for what it is: slut shaming. I don’t care about her nudes or sexual history and no one should.

The 25-year-old brunette bombshell, who is a known feminist, activist and Bernie Sanders supporter, defied the mainstream media when she defended First Lady Melania Trump on social media.

In response to Ratajkowski, Trump tweeted the following via her @FLOTUS account:

Applause to all women around the world who speak up, stand up and support other women! @emrata #PowerOfEveryWoman #PowerOfTheFirstLady.

Ratajkowski at an anti-Trump protest at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) [source: Instagram user @emrata]

Since then Jacob Bernstein came out via Twitter (@BernsteinJacob) as the alleged New York Times journalist who slandered Mrs. Trump in what he thought was a “personal conversation” with Ratajkowski.

“My mistake, referring to unfounded rumors, shouldn’t reflect on anyone else and I apologize profusely,” Bernstein writes.

United Kingdom-born, Orange County-raised Ratajkowski often uses her social media platforms to express her viewpoints on feminism and women’s rights, sexuality, police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, education and public funding of the arts. Her opinions always align with that of the mainstream liberal media’s. In fact, she gained esteem last February when she told her coming-of-age tale known as Baby Woman in an essay on Lenny Letter.

Though Ratajkowski conforms to conventional beauty standards (let’s face it: she’s gorgeous, and admits to both wearing makeup and shaving her underarms), she was raised by very liberal parents in very liberal environments. Growing up, her parents took her to nude beaches in Europe and exposed her to nude forms in photography and art.

Becoming comfortable with the naked body early in life prepared Ratajkowski for nude modeling; in 2013 she became a household name after appearing topless and in only a flesh-toned thong in Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” music video.

In a 2014 interview with Ocean Drive’s Ray Rogers, Ratajkowski states, “We have this culture of men, especially, watching pornography, but then [they are] offended by a classic nude portrait or photograph, and I’ve never felt that way.”

Ratajkowski posses as Lady Godiva for Harper’s Bazaar, July 2016 [source: Harper’s Bazaar]

Despite her level of comfort with nudity (including her own), Ratajkowski is no stranger to criticism and shame for being openly sexual. After sharing a photo from a Harper’s Bazaar interview last July, in which she posed nude, British journalist and television personality Piers Morgan tweeted at Ratajkowski, “Do you want me to buy you some clothes? You look freezing.”

Ratajkowski responded, “@piersmorgan thanks, but I don’t need clothes as much as you need press.”

Morgan then tweeted, “Given I have 4.2 million more followers than Ms @emrata, I think she might be the one in need of more press” and “Emily Ratajowski posing FULLY-CLOTHED would be a bigger news story.”

In addition to standing up for herself and for current First Lady Melania Trump, Ratajkowski was praised when she posted a topless, albeit censored, snapshot alongside Kim Kardashian last March. The caption reads, “However sexual our bodies may be, we need to h[a]ve the freedom as women to choose wh[e]n & how we express our sexuality.”

This controversial tweet came on the heels of a naked selfie Kardashian posted on Instagram, which received a ton of criticism from those who seek to shame Kardashian for her overt sexuality.

Ratajkowski at an anti-Trump protest the day after his inauguration [source: Instagram user @emrata]

As the old saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished. Teen Vogue contributor Brittney McNamara sheds light on the Ratajkowski-Trump situation in an article published February 13:

‘Whatever your politics it’s crucial to call this out for what it is: slut shaming. I don’t care about her nudes or sexual history and no one should,’ Emily wrote on Twitter. ‘Gender specific attacks are disgusting sexist bullshit.’

There are many reasons to watch what Melania does and how she handles the office of the First Lady. But her sexuality has nothing to do with her execution of office. Melania has claimed the escort rumors are completely false and the Daily Mail has indicated there is no evidence to suggest they are true. More importantly, alleging someone was a sex worker and using that as an insult is not OK. Being a sex worker can be a personal, valid choice. So even if she were a sex worker, it shouldn’t matter because it has nothing to do with whether she would be a good First Lady. Like Emily said, this is a gender-based attack. It seeks to undermine Melania as an intelligent woman by bringing up her sexual history. It depends upon the old idea that women can’t be both sexual and successful, and that’s frankly just untrue (something Emily has schooled us on before).

Regardless of your politics, attacking Melania with sexist, slut shaming insults will do more harm than good.

Though her views differ greatly from that of the Trump Administration (and my own), Ratajkowski deserves praise from all sides of the political spectrum. Wise beyond her years, Ratajkowski exhibits true feminism–not the so-called “Internet feminism” that plagues social media today. Instead of engaging in the hypocritical, all-bark-and-no-bite feminism to which her peers often turn, she uses her social status to stand up for what is right–not what is popular. Her voice is a breath of fresh air that sets her apart from other Hollywood-type stars and mainstream media leftists.

Ratajkowski at a New Hampshire Bernie Sanders rally in early 2016 [source: Instagram user @emrata]

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As of their March 2017 issues, all of the so-called “Big 4” magazines–American Vogue, British Vogue, Vogue Paris and Vogue Italia–have featured model and social media starlet Gigi Hadid on their covers not once, but twice each. The 21-year-old graces American Vogue’s March 2017 issue alongside Liu Wen, Ashley Graham, Imaan Hammam, Adwoa Aboah, Vittoria Ceretti and fellow social media starlet Kendall Jenner.

While it is no secret that our social media-obsessed world favors younger, trendier models like Gigi Hadid over the aloof models of yesteryear, many critics question whether it’s hard work or sheer nepotism that lands a gal on the cover of the most well-known fashion magazine in the industry.

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Hadid caused quite a buzz when she debuted a super slender physique in preparation for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show late last year. The SoCal-native has always been in fantastic physical shape (she played volleyball for 12 years growing up), but Hadid’s figure went from athletic to ultra thin in the few short years it took her to become a household name.

Although some remain skeptical about Hadid’s weight loss methods, she credits her killer body to daily boxing workouts and an overall healthy lifestyle that includes clean eating (and the occasional cheeseburger to “stay sane”), according to Daily Mail. This may be a sign the girl-next-door beauty is taking her career as a model more seriously than she may have in the past.

However, Vogue’s March cover still raises concerns that the publication (and the media in general) favors clicks, views and sales over quality content and real diversity. The cover stars, half of whom are arguably celebrities more so than they are models, take the place of veterans who made a name for themselves in the modeling industry without the help of social media.

Adriana Lima and Snejana Onopka both have three total “Big 4” covers each, and Magdalena Frackowiak has just one “Big 4” cover. At just 21-years-old Hadid has an astonishing eight “Big 4” covers.

Sure, social media starlets like Hadid and Jenner are quote-unquote good for magazines; with this younger generation of models on its cover, Vogue will undoubtedly receive a ton of buzz and maintain its relevancy (not to mention, it will also attract a younger generation of readers). But, are the younger cover girls as talented as the veteran models? And, do It girls like Hadid and Jenner truly have a place in high fashion alongside the likes of Liu Wen?

Something can definitely be said for the amount of fans these social media starlets have. Hadid has 29.4 million followers on Instagram, and Jenner has a shocking 74.1 million—they gained a cult following and have millions of fans who are eager to buy any publication with their faces on it. On the other hand, 29-year-old Wen has a mere 2.5 million followers on Instagram and does not typically cause excitement among the mainstream media and social media when she appears on magazine covers or runways.

Marketability among It girls could possibly be attributed to their overall likability. While her work has surely improved, Hadid still is not the strongest, most talented model out there. But, she does have a positive attitude and more relatable lifestyle than most traditional models seem to have. Though Hadid may be the daughter of a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, she attended public high school and admits to eating cheeseburgers, after all.

To put it plainly, veteran models seem inaccessible and standoffish; Hadid and co., by comparison, are down-to-earth, friendly and more realistic.

Hadid’s likable, relatable personality may be what landed her a spot on Love Magazine’s 2016 advent calendar. While Hadid’s short by Dan Jackson went live on the 24th day (Christmas Eve), her younger sister Bella’s turned heads on the first day (December 1, 2016). Other young It girls, including Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski, filled the days in between; veterans like Alessandra Ambrosio and Heidi Klum appeared sparingly.

Although Hadid struts her stuff in a skimpy fishnet bikini, its neon pink color comes off as youthful and nonthreatening, and the mirror selfies she takes for the camera are something to which most of her fans can relate, despite the fact that they happen in one of New York City’s most popular hotels.

Pictured left to right: Wen, Graham, Jenner, Hadid, Hammam, Aboah, Ceretti [source: New York Magazine]

Similarly, the array of seven models on Vogue’s March cover sport tight black tops and bold hot pants–but, their diverse features and soft smiles attract readers who may be scared off by a more artistic, unapproachable cover on newsstands. To bring in more readers Vogue.com supplements this issue with an online beauty article featuring quickie interviews from five of the cover stars on what makes them feel beautiful.

Sultry beauty Ashley Graham, the striking Liu Wen, fresh-faced Adwoa Aboah, green-eyed Vittoria Ceretti and the fierce Imaan Hammam all share their favorite beauty products with Vogue.com readers, while Hadid and Jenner remain absent from the article entirely, save for the featured photo.

This article–published February 12–may be Vogue’s response to the outpouring of upset readers who insist the March 2017 cover is not as diverse as it claims to be. Yes, it includes models from a multitude of ethnic backgrounds, as well as one plus-size model, but Hadid and Jenner–who are, for lack of a better term, conventionally attractive–appear front and center.

“None of the models featured were ‘darker than a paper bag,'” Cosmopolitan adds in its February 9 reaction to the cover, which is ironic given the issue’s theme: “Modern American Woman.”

In an attempt to appease angry readers and reengage the mature audience that it isolated, Vogue.com quickly constructed an article celebrating the beauty of the five more sophisticated cover models.

[source: Twitter user @angelmuxoz]

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