As a designer with Mexican heritage who has established a successful career in America (both at the likes of Proenza Schouler and his own label LRS) Raul Solis was always going to have something to say about the current state of the USA. Last night, at his AW17 show, he made this clear – sending out models in underwear reading “No Ban No Wall” – or, more emphatically, “Fuck Your Wall”.
Talking to Dazed about the significance of such a statement, the designer says he considers Trump’s wall a pressing and personal political issue. “My family is first generation Mexican and some had to migrate to the US, (so) this issue is something extremely personal to me. I would not be able to present my collections if it was not for the opportunities the country has given us.” Showing in a city made up of such a melting pot of cultures as New York, he felt “it would seem wasteful to have a platform and not be able to speak up on an issue that is extremely important.”
“I believe we all have a huge responsibility to speak up and take actions (with) whatever affects us directly,” he continues. “The fashion industry has always been a driving force in culture, changing the way we live and look. Fashion and the messages (it has) put out have changed generations.”
“My family is first generation Mexican. I would not be able to present my collections if it was not for the opportunities (America) has given us” – Raul Solis
As for the rest of the collection, the designer looked once more to the “rebellious youth” that have inspired his collections so far, with an added dose of a mood he called “S&M romantic”. There were deconstructed leather looks with cutouts – including one particular full-frontal dress – designed to celebrate female sexual empowerment at a time when women’s rights are so under threat.
With bondage ropes in glittery metallic s and similarly sparkly club kid make-up, the show felt like a celebration of fun creative rebellion in an increasingly oppressive climate. Solis further referenced that romanticized idea of New York as a place of creative escape – the freedom the city gives you to be as “wild and individual as possible.” It’s a spirit that’s needed more needed than ever in Trump’s America.