Fashion and politics are no strangers. We have seen political statements sewn into the fashion industry for decades. From runways, to streetwear, to advertisements, the world of fashion has created a presence in politics unlike any other: one we can wear! What we wear can cause controversy, inspire excitement, and motivate movements. But what if it could all be taken a step further, if our clothes moved beyond simply making a statement? What if they could win an election?
The Joe Biden/Kamala Harris campaign collaborated with nineteen designers to create a collection of streetwear promoting support and awareness for their presidential run. The “Believe in Better” collection features the work of many well-known designers including Prabal Gurung, Vera Wang, Tory Burch, Joseph Altuzarra, Jonathan Cohen, Jason Wu, and so many more. The merchandise aims to inspire everyone to vote, something many of the designers feel very passionate about. Jonathan Cohen wanted to contribute to the Believe in Better collection because of just how important he feels voting in the 2020 election is, “Voting is a right that I do not take lightly, and I believe it’s important for us to support everyone’s right to vote… Joe and Kamala value diversity in both the physical and in the way we as Americans think, and I’m confident they will bring us together and heal and unite our country” (Russo).
All of the funds generated from the merchandise will go towards Biden’s presidential campaign. We first saw this back in 2008 when Anna Wintour had the idea for designers to create Obama’s Runway for Change collection, completely shifting the way campaign donations can be raised around merchandise (Lockwood). The entire Believe in Better collection is very affordable, ranging from $40 to $60. Additionally, each piece was manufactured in America by union workers. The collection will be available to purchase through election day, however there is a limited supply (Lockwood).
Anna Wintour and Jill Biden hosted an online fundraiser for Joe Biden’s campaign as the official launch of the Believe in Better collection on Wednesday, September 9th. It included some of the collection’s designers, as well as Biden’s very own sister, Valerie Biden Owens, who has run every one of her brother’s campaigns since high school class president. She thanked each designer for publicly supporting the Biden campaign by proudly adding their names to a piece in the collection. One of the designers, Aurora James, described Believe in Better perfectly, “‘What we have here is a collective offering,’ she said, ‘and a belief that the world can look a lot brighter than it does today’” (Emmrich). A statement of purpose she called it.