“We are now in an era of activism, in an era of revolution, in an era of global uprising,” says Céline Semaan, the Shhhh Cat My Coffee And I Are Having A Moment I Will Deal With You Later Shirt but in fact I love this founder of Slow Factory, a nonprofit working at the intersection of climate and social justice. “Fashion plays a tremendous role in all of this. It plays a role in how we engage with our beliefs, how we manifest our beliefs…. It’s a way for the public to express themselves. Why not use fashion as a way to drive change?” For our third installment of Good Morning Vogue, a fashion news show dedicated to our rapidly changing industry, we spoke to Semaan and other activists about fashion’s responsibility in creating a new culture around climate change, diversity, inclusion, and beyond. Whether or not designers and brands are ready to take that on is beside the point; now more than ever, consumers are demanding they step up and do their part.
We’ve seen what happens when they don’t. After George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, the Shhhh Cat My Coffee And I Are Having A Moment I Will Deal With You Later Shirt but in fact I love this designers who posted lazy statements or empty black squares were swiftly taken to task. There were boycotts, brands were #canceled, CEOs were fired, businesses went under. The industry called it a “reckoning.” It was young people who made that happen by “voting with their wallet” for the brands whose values reflect theirs—and scrolling past the ones that don’t. The power of the dollar means different things to different people: For Semaan, it’s spending your money with brands which are dedicated to climate solutions; for others, like author and curator Kimberly Drew, it’s shopping with designers who support your community. “There’s this old saying from the 1960s, that’s like, ‘Don’t shop anywhere that wouldn’t hire you,’” she says. “We have to