political fashion

Rachel Comey on How She’s Mobilizing the Fashion Industry for the Women’s March

Rachel Comey. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Like so many around her, Rachel Comey spent the post-election slump “looking around to try to figure out how I can be active.” For her, the answer lay in galvanizing fellow members of the fashion industry. Comey has thrown her support behind the upcoming Women’s Marches happening across the country, and involved designers and brands including Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, Opening Ceremony, and Maria Cornejo to support in various ways. “Some are supporting the cause on social media,” using the hashtags #WhyIMarch and #IMarchFor, she tells the Cut. “Others are chartering five buses for their staff.” Via a letter she sent out to the CFDA, she is also suggesting that brands donate a portion of their proceeds this weekend to charity, whether that’s a women’s rights group or environmental and labor causes.

“The majority of people spending money in our fashion and beauty businesses are women, and a majority of our staff are women. I feel like it’s our responsibility,” Comey says. She is subsidizing her staff to attend whatever march they want to participate in, whether that’s in New York, Los Angeles, or Washington, D.C. She’ll have volunteers filling in for them — including her partner Sean — and 50 percent of her online and in-store sales that weekend will go to benefit Planned Parenthood. She’s also designed camo outfits with the slogan “Si Vales Valeo” (“If I am strong, you are strong” in Latin) for a group of women marching under that name, and says she’ll be dressing one of the speakers at the march as well. (Stay tuned.)

Cornejo is one of those getting involved, telling the Cut, “As a woman, a mother, an immigrant and former political refugee, a small-business owner, a climate-change believer and after proudly becoming an American four years ago, there’s no question that I wouldn’t stand in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington.” On Saturday, she will donate a portion of her proceeds to Planned Parenthood, ACLU and Human Rights Watch. In addition to the brands mentioned above, Comey has corralled dozens of other designers, including Samantha and Matt Orley of Orley, who will be marching this weekend. “The election really left me heartbroken about how a large portion of our country views women and people of all diversities and that equality is just not a priority for them,” Samantha says. “But it’s also seriously motivated me to do something about it.” Pookie and Louisa Burch of Trademark are also joining in, saying jointly in an email, “When we look back on this time, it is important to us to know we did everything we could to stand up for our rights and the rights of others.”

A portion of the fashion industry has been frustratingly neutral on all things Trump of late, with many designers dodging political questions altogether. But Comey has a message for those still on the sidelines. The march, she believes, is “not a partisan situation at all. Of all the opportunities for things to stand up for, it’s just a really easy one.”

Rachel Comey Is Mobilizing Designers for the Women’s March