Fashion is an inherently political and reflective medium for the daily ramblings and revolutions of a society. Much of the time the influence is subtle. Silhouettes and fabrics reflect different stances on conservatism, on sex, on the degrees to which we fetishize luxury, and on infinite other attitudes of an era. Other times the influence is extremely direct, with text printed on the clothing that explicitly articulates a current societal dynamic. I began exploring fashion in 2016, as the country had reached an unprecedented and linguistically weaponized divide.
While taking a fashion technology course under the instruction of Galina Mihaleva, I developed a tracksuit incorporating concealed LED displays that are capable of scrolling customizable text on the sides of the garment. I expanded on this futuristic execution of politically charged clothes by utilizing a more realistic application of the LED technology in the Bouis Vuitton project. This project is a collection of six white vinyl bags with semi-flexible LED displays projecting revolutionary slogans through the vinyl textile.
The bags act as an appropriate housing for technology that is intended for significantly longer use, as bags have a longer lifespan in wardrobes than clothes and return to trend more frequently. The production investment in the technology is more equitable to the investment in the production of a bag and facilitates the wearer’s broadcasting of concise messages. The result is a collection of functional, utilitarian pieces with a clean, futuristic look and a mixed modern and vintage silhouette scrolling pro-revolutionary messages.
Broadcasting the knock-off name ‘BOUIS VUITTON’, I’ve inserted only my first initial into the reputable luxury company and paired it with slogans: ‘EAT THE RICH’ and ‘HEADS WILL ROLL’. The collection articulates a sense of nihilism felt by the youngest generations growing up on the outside of a very exclusive economic and political sphere. Three upcycled vintage luggage pieces evoke associations with the white American upper-class society of the 1960s. The luggage pieces were retrofitted in white vinyl and white-enameled metal fixtures. Three additional soft bags made of the same material reflect a utilitarian style of functional bags on trend with Spring/Summer 2019 streetwear. For the runway presentation of the bags, the models are dressed in navy-colored Dickies boiler suits, white retro-style Fila sneakers, and white ascots reminiscent of the historical male ruffled cravat. The contradictions of iconic silhouettes from both upper and lower-class American fashion history further the juxtaposition of anti-capitalist slogans posted on luxury goods.
Bouis Vuitton: Bags for the Revolution is intended to embody an unapologetic disregard for established wealth and political power in the most public of venues: the sidewalk, the mall, the high and the low-income neighborhoods – wherever people are wearing clothes. Fashion is the modern protest that requires no permit, and the new poster is a luxury bag.