Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah
FASHION BRANDS ARE TACKLING LOW VOTER TURNOUT IN THE US WITH A VARIETY OF INITIATIVES.
Many brands have been getting political in recent times and there’s one non-partisan issue (most) everyone can agree on: getting out the vote. The United States election is top of mind for many across the country (and the world). But in 2016, only 56% of eligible voters cast their ballot in the US, and with the pandemic this year, that number could be even lower. That’s why fashion’s top figures have come up with a variety of initiatives encouraging and making it easier for Americans to vote.
Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, co-founders of social enterprise Studio 189 (which you can hear all about our podcast interview with them) have come together again on an initiative using fashion to encourage people to vote. Erwiah founded Fashion Our Future 2020, a project that brings together designers to make clothing encouraging people to vote. She will be collaborating with Dawson, who co-founded Voto Latino in 2004. The initiative will launch at New York Fashion Week next week. Already, many American brands including Brandon Maxwell, 3.1 Philip Lim, and Lemlem have signed on to the project. Virgil Abloh, Creative Director of Louis Vuitton is the project’s creative director.
Designs will range from T-shirts emblazoned with a number to text to register to vote to a lunchbox inspired by Michelle Obama’s comment in her DNC speech to “Pack your lunch; you might be standing there [at the polls] for a while.”
Many of fashion’s biggest movers and shakers have already signed on: Amber Valletta and Prabal Gurung have shared Instagram posts encouraging people to “Be A Model Voter.”
Bode’s storefront on the Lower East Side
In New York, when menswear designer Emily Bode was able to re-open her store after the lockdown, she knew she wanted to do more than sell clothes. She registered her storefront in the Lower East Side as a polling station. In the US, thirteen states do not specify polling place locations or impose restrictions, so yes, you can even vote in clothing stores.
Loungewear brand Lunya is taking voting inside with their new “Vote from Bed” initiative. When you enter your phone number on their website, they’ll get you set up to request a ballot and send you cheeky “I Voted, in bed” stickers. What’s especially impressive about this initiative is that it’s not tied to buying any of their products.
Americans, you can register to vote at www.vote.org/.
By Claire Kalikman.