Does Power Dressing Have the Power to Change Politics?

Does Power Dressing Change the Power of Politics? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Photos: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Patrick Semansky, Andrew Harnik, Ross D. Franklin, File.

When Women Vote: A Zócalo/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Event Series
Moderated by Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Director and Chief Fashion Critic, New York Times

A new, bold generation of women leaders is ascending in America. They haven’t entirely ditched the pantsuit, but they have embraced eye-catching colors, up-and-coming designers, and statement-making clothes and accessories. Which means these women have also opened themselves up to the risks—and rewards—inherent in such choices. This past election cycle had no shortage of iconic fashion moments, from Vice President Kamala Harris accepting victory in suffragist white to Michelle Obama’s “VOTE” necklace (by Los Angeles designer BYCHARI) going viral. Meanwhile, the fashion industry itself is being called on to take stronger political stances and right wrongs, past and present, particularly when it comes to issues of race, labor, and gender. Are we entering a new era of intertwined fashion and politics—and if so, what does it mean for these industries and institutions, and for the rest of us? What can the history of women and fashion in the political arena teach us about the perils and potential of statement-making—and sometimes barrier-breaking—style?

Studio One Eighty Nine co-founder and president Abrima Erwiah, fashion designer Bibhu Mohapatra, and fashion historian and author Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell visit Zócalo to discuss the past and present of women’s fashion in American government, and what’s next.

One hundred years after the passage of the 19th Amendment, Zócalo and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County present When Women Vote, a four-event series.

Past Events in this Series

From Cleopatra to Clinton, Politics Is Never Out of Style | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

From Cleopatra to Clinton, Politics Is Never Out of Style

Fashion Is a Powerful Tool of Communication—And One Ripe for Leverage

Back in 2008, Michelle Obama was scheduled to be a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno right after campaign finance reports revealed that Sarah Palin’s new wardrobe, priced …

Women’s Movements Can Save the World—by Learning From Each Other | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Women’s Movements Can Save the World—by Learning From Each Other

After Many Years of Tilling the Soil, Transnational Feminist Movements Have Growing Momentum

Can transnational women’s movements save the world? That was the title question posed, on International Women’s Day, to two Arizona State University experts on women’s leadership at a Zócalo/ASU Center …

Can Women ‘Turn Protest Into Power’? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Can Women ‘Turn Protest Into Power’?

L.A.’s Women Are Rising, but Too Many Communities Are Being Left Behind

Last month, Kamala Harris made U.S. history, becoming the first woman to be elected vice president. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the November elections resulted in the first all-women Board of …

In the Crisis of COVID, a Moment of Awakening for Women | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

In the Crisis of COVID, a Moment of Awakening for Women

The Pandemic Has Pulled Back the Curtain on Gender Inequity in the U.S.—In Politics and Beyond

The image of California state Assemblymember Buffy Wicks holding her 4-week-old baby on the legislative floor earlier this month after her request to vote by proxy was denied loomed over …

The Enduring Power of Women’s Protests | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Enduring Power of Women’s Protests

Women-Led Movements Have Found Strength in Solidarity Across Centuries and Borders

Whether it’s the mothers and grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, whose work helped delegitimize the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina between 1976 and 1983, or the ongoing weekly rallies …