Fashion Show Assembly Style
by Barbara Wheeler
A fashion show calls attention to the militarization of popular culture through the use of camouflage clothing during Assembly in Anaheim, California. The show was organized by the Women of Color Resource Center, a partner organization of the United Methodist Women's Division. Credit: Mike DuBose/UMNS, May 5, 2006
When close to 7,000 women gather in one place, there are bound to be conversations about fashion. Those gathered at Assembly viewed a "Fashion Resistance to Militarism " fashion show.
A crowd gathered in the Exhibit Hall Friday afternoon to watch young people attending Assembly model outfits from three fashion lines:
- Militarism in Popular Culture;
- Gender, Race and Militarism; and
- Visions of a Culture of Peace.
The fashion show illustrated the subtle examples of militarism present in our culture today and displayed symbols of militarism and anti-militarism in ensembles. Models wore outfits with camouflage. Other clothing symbolized women's roles in a militarized society. A young woman wore a camouflage wedding dress and black veil to represent prejudice against brides from other cultures who marry U.S. military personnel.
Tracy Washington, a United Methodist Women member from Little Rock, Ark., watched her 12-year-old daughter, Donesha Barton, model a cape that promoted peace and community health. Militarism in U.S. culture is an issue that is close to Ms. Washington's family. Her husband recently returned from Iraq after serving there for the year.
"This fashion show represents the truth about society, " Ms. Washington said. She was moved by an outfit that represented a soldier's return from war.
Other anti-militarism clothing included outfits that represented 50 percent of discretionary spending in the national budget for the military in contrast to smaller amounts for areas such as education, transportation and veteran's affairs.
The fashion show was presented by the Racial Justice Program of the Women's Division and Women of Color Resource Center of Oakland, Calif. "Fashion Resistance to Militarism " is a way to educate audiences on the process of militarization in society and encourage awareness and understanding of the messages fashion sends.