The Library have released their latest look book which attempts to comment on feminism within fashion. The Library have include a statement with the look book that dissects their views and perspectives and gives some guidance on how we should tackle feminism and build up especially black women within fashion and culture.
‘We live in a society heavily impacted by globalization which isn’t a bad thing. At this point, everyone is sharing and swapping ideas, trends, and fashions like never before. Naturally, urban style has moved to the forefront and its elements have become part of larger mainstream culture. However, this has come at the expense of a key player in its foundation—the black woman. She’s barely anywhere to be found in street- focused fashion advertisements (shoutout to Fenty and Ivy Park etc for keeping it real).
Fashion, beauty, and lifestyle companies, which often espouse “empowerment” in new campaigns and email newsletters, quickly realized that feminism could be something for women to buy. But real change does not come in the form of Instagram-friendly T-shirts that donate nothing to a good cause. Similarly, a runway political protest that goes viral may be inspiring, but is the fashion house able to back it up? Does the brand champion diversity and inclusion in hiring, casting, and every day work? And does it genuinely empower those wearing its clothes? Because if not, the brand isn’t making any political or feminist statements, it’s simply trying to capitalize on a movement. And that is nothing to applaud. That’s what the Library aims to focus on with this lookbook.
For this Look book The Library decided to focus and deepen its civic commitment with an intensive campaign that will directly address the gender inequality we see across the industry. Moving forward, the Cape Town based brand’s strategy will continue to give its customers the opportunity to be a part of meaningful change. Meaningful change is indeed something that a few brands set out to accomplish, most of them touching upon feminism and the current political landscape lightly.
The Library Apparel recognizes the hardships that many young women face on a daily basis. Many of the brand’s pieces focus on the problems of consent and respecting women. The #RebelTheSystem collection is comprised of everyday printed T-shirts and Tote bags richly inflected with The Library’s penchant for its distinct font. These T-shirts and Tote bags display phrases such as “Love, respect and protect our women. Aside from monochromatic and polychromatic logo-based t’s and tote bags, the label also executes a 5-panel cap dubbed “Get Schooled”.
The brand focused its design prowess on three things for #RebelTheSystem collection – continuing the feminist discussion, and move over Gen-Xers, racial and sexual discrimination and bigotry, it’s all about the Millennials. Thus, we witnessed a collection that was anywhere but the frothy ethereal or elegantly tailored creations of a streetwear brand that we are used to seeing from the more prominent South African brands. In fact, blink and you may miss any subtle whisper or nod to a house code.
The Library’s reference point was with feminist art historian Linda Nochlin, whose 1971 essay “Why have there not been great women artists?” is a reflection point for the brand. Although The Library’s #RebelTheSystem messaging was more subtle, equality for women and racial disparities were at the forefront of the designs. Many elements of the collection were inspired by women who played a major role in shifting the way women and femininity were perceived socially and politically. Overall The Library is taking control, not only in streetwear and fashion but also in the fight for women’s rights. The brand exemplifies Black Girl Magic and culture to the fullest.
Far too many popular brands who are at the forefront of the urban streetwear movement play a role in the erasure of black women- which is interesting because we too are consumers of their merchandise. The Library is determined to have a hand in all the challenges that are seen as fundamental—from equality within the fashion world to equal rights more generally—and to work with a variety of creatives and brands and contribute to the dream of building a fairer world. For The Library black women deserve to be represented in streetwear adverts and campaigns like everybody else, period.
We are living in a time of turmoil and it is important for women to stand up, speak up, and ensure that their rights are protected. Social media has given designers and brands an incredible voice and as a new emerging street wear brand The Library believes in this moment it is imperative that as a brand it uses its platform to stand up for what is right.’
Shot by: @sphe251 (Instagram)
Directed and Edited by: @stevinhiowanda (twitter) Models: @refilxe_m & @lynn_j_leroux (Instagram)