12 times celebrities used fashion to make a political statement

sarah hyland times up

  • January 1, 2021 marks the third anniversary of the Time's Up movement, which sparked a series of political fashion moments in Hollywood.
  • Celebrities have also used their red carpet looks and public appearances to raise awareness for voting, LGBTQ+ rights, and income inequality. 
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Some celebrities are open about their political leanings and beliefs, not only through their words but also through their fashion choices.

January 1, 2021 marks the third anniversary of the Time's Up movement, which aims to call attention to sexual harassment in the workplace while demanding gender equality. The movement inspired a number of fashion statements, from the unofficial all-black dress code at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards to talk show appearances and the Women's March.

Here are 12 times celebrities used fashion to make a political or social statement.

Following the 2016 presidential election, Lady Gaga stepped out in New York City wearing a political T-shirt.

The "Shallow" singer's graphic shirt bore the slogan "Love Trumps Hate" in bold red paint. Gaga also wore an American Flag belt and a bright blue leather jacket.

Lady Gaga has been a staunch supporter of past Democratic candidates including Hillary Clinton and President-elect Joe Biden. While speaking at a campaign rally in support of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on November 2, she said, "To all the women and all the men with daughters and sisters and mothers — everybody, no matter how you identify: Now is your chance to vote against Donald Trump."

Actresses showed their support for the Time's Up movement by wearing black to the 2018 Golden Globes.

Spearheaded by Hollywood celebrities in response to the #MeToo movement and the Harvey Weinstein case, Time's Up aims to call attention to sexual harassment and inequality in the workplace.

At the 2018 Golden Globe Awards, powerful women in Hollywood, from Meryl Streep to Oprah Winfrey, wore black to promote and raise awareness for Time's Up and show solidarity with victims of sexual misconduct.

Actors including Ewan McGregor also showed their support for the movement by wearing Time's Up pins.

In addition to the sea of black gowns worn to the awards show, both female celebrities and male celebrities like Ewan McGregor, Armie Hammer, Justin Timberlake, and host Seth Meyers showed their support by wearing Time's Up pins.

Connie Britton also made a statement at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards by wearing a black sweater embroidered with the phrase "poverty is sexist."

The sweater, designed by Lingua Franca, was worn to support the Time's Up movement and call attention to income inequality between men and women. 

"Sunday's Golden Globe awards sent an important message about how women are treated in this country, and how an imperative sea change is happening now. Like my fellow actors, directors, and producers, I dressed in black in solidarity to acknowledge that it is time for women and men to empower ourselves with equality," the actress wrote in an essay for Entertainment Weekly.

"I proudly wore a sweater embroidered with the words 'poverty is sexist' because nowhere in the world are women economically equal to men, nor do they have the same economic opportunities as men — and that inequality is even worse for girls and women in the world's poorest countries," she continued.

At the following year's Golden Globe Awards, Laura Dern accessorized her red carpet look with a bag featuring a Time's Up ribbon.

While the movement wasn't as highly publicized at the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019, actress Laura Dern continued to show her support for Time's Up through her red carpet style.

Sarah Hyland showed her support for Time's Up and Planned Parenthood at the 2018 Women's March in Los Angeles.

The "Modern Family" actress also shared her support for the movement on Instagram, sharing a photo with the words, "Time's up on silence. Time's up on waiting. Time's up on tolerating discrimination, harassment, and abuse."

Jessica Chastain was also seen wearing a Time's Up T-shirt to attend "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on January 3, 2018.

In addition to making a statement with her fashion, Chastain also donated $50,000 to the Time's Up anti-harassment cause. As of October 2018, the Time's Up legal defense fund has raised $22 million to provide legal defense money for sexual violence victims, especially low-income victims who experienced misconduct in the workplace.

Laverne Cox showed her support for the LGBTQ+ community at the 2019 Emmys by carrying a rainbow-colored clutch that bore the date of a Supreme Court case.

The custom Edie Parker read, "Oct. 8, Title VII, Supreme Court," which references the Trump administration's efforts to legalize the ability for employers to fire workers based on gender identity or presentation.

"It's about raising awareness so everyone knows that our lives are in danger," Cox told E! on the red carpet. "A lot of people aren't talking about this case, and it has implications for the LGBT community. But it has implications for women and anyone who doesn't conform to someone else's idea of how you should be…a man or woman or neither!"

Joy Villa is known for her bold red carpet appearances, including this MAGA gown she wore to the Grammy Awards in 2019.

Designed by Desi Designs Couture, the white, floor-length gown featured a black brick print and the words "Build The Wall" on the back in red lettering. The singer also carried a red clutch that read "Make America Great Again," inspired by President Donald Trump's famous slogan. 

This wasn't the first time Villa has worn politically motivated clothing to awards shows, according to a previous article by Insider. She's worn two Trump-inspired gowns in the past few years, as well as a white dress that depicted an unborn baby in a womb accessorized with a clutch that read "Choose Life."

Lizzo wore a dress emblazoned with the word "vote" to the 2020 Billboard Music Awards.

Designed by Christian Siriano, the "vote" print featured on the dress first appeared in the young designer's runway show in September. However, Lizzo's custom-made outfit was reworked to feature an asymmetrical neckline and shorter length. 

"There's power in who you are, there's power in your voice," the Grammy Award-winning singer said in her speech at the awards show. "So whether it's through music, protest, or your right to vote, use your power, use your voice, and refuse to be suppressed." 

Tracee Ellis Ross subtly encouraged viewers to vote through her style at the 2018 American Music Awards.

The actress addressed her political style moment on stage at the awards show by saying, "I am a voter, are you?" to the audience.

Padma Lakshmi showed her support for the ACLU at the Emmy Awards in 2018.

To show her support for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), for which she is an ambassador, the "Top Chef" star wore a blue ribbon pinned to the waist of her J. Mendel gown, which she had previously worn to the Vogue India Women of the Year Awards in October 2017. 

When asked about her attire on the red carpet, Lakshmi explained her choice to wear the pin, saying, "I came to this country as an immigrant myself and I think it's important we remember that America is what it is because we're a nation of immigrants. It's also important for America to keep our word." 

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