Does political activism require more than an instagram like or buying the tee?

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Leading Australian footwear company Wittner, is taking a bold step forward this season with the launch of its new A/W 18 campaign, ‘The Future is Female’. The infamous phrase has a powerful history of encouraging women to dare greatly and lead boldly, and the campaign perfectly represents this.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen a brand co-opting into a political movement – Dior’s ‘We Should All Be Feminist’ tee’s that quite controversially retail for $969.85AUD. Pepsi’s infamous ad that was pulled almost as soon as it was published featuring supermodel Kendall Jenner and borrowing heavily from the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign. Suffice to say, it failed. Miserably.

Wittner tell us that ‘the campaign aims to encourage females from all walks of life to stand tall and put their best foot forward with attitude, no matter what challenges they are faced with.’ It’s noble and lofty and why not? I’m not going to criticise a brand who wants to stand clearly with a political movement.

Making money from said movement is another story all together.

Last year Cara Delevigne announced that she was making and selling her own version of ‘The Future Is Female’ shirt and that proceeds would go to the United Nations Foundation’s adolescent girl campaign, Girl Up.

Recently, the owner of Otherwild design studio, Rachel Berks, discovered the vintage print on h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y and approached the original creators about remaking it, selling it on Otherwild’s website (which specializes in cool queer-centric products), and donating 25% of the profits to Planned Parenthood.

Right now, Otherwild and its LGBTQ supporters are accusing Delevingne of stealing the idea from a small, queer feminist-owned business. Their argument is that what she is doing is contrary to everything the slogan stands for.

And that’s where things get murky when brands are selling a product linked to a political movement. Who should ultimately benefit monetarily from products that are promoted under a banner like ‘The Future Is Female,’ for example?

On the eve of International Women’s Day this year when this campaign launched, Wittner collected donations of $2 from every shoe sold across its flagship stores in Australia and New Zealand, that will go directly to ‘Fitted For Work’. A charitable organisation, Fitted For Work, helps women who are experiencing adversity break through barriers to get and keep work.

So, fantastic! But a $2 donation is a far cry from the profit made from a pair of shoes, which at a glance on average retail for $259AUD on the Wittner website.

The point is, that essentially we need to ask ourselves important questions before parting with our money for a slogan tee, can of Pepsi or pair of shoes. Is it enough to buy the tee and opt in? Or does political activism require more than an instagram like or a casual donation?

Here’s some beautiful images of the Wittner event last week that sparked my thoughts, as usual, I’d love to hear what you think!

Wittner 'The Future Is Female' launch in Melbourne

Wittner 'The Future Is Female' launch in Melbourne

Wittner 'The Future Is Female' launch in Melbourne

Wittner 'The Future Is Female' launch in Melbourne

Wittner 'The Future Is Female' launch in Melbourne

Wittner 'The Future Is Female' launch in Melbourne

Wittner 'The Future Is Female' launch in Melbourne

Wittner 'The Future Is Female' launch in Melbourne

Wittner 'The Future Is Female' launch in Melbourne

Wittner 'The Future Is Female' launch in Melbourne

Wittner 'The Future Is Female' launch in Melbourne

Wittner 'The Future Is Female' launch in Melbourne

The post Does political activism require more than an instagram like or buying the tee? appeared first on Lady Melbourne, a fashion blog from Melbourne.

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