Tanya Taylor's New York Fashion Week Presentation Encouraged Voter Registration
Instead of a new collection, the designer is using the time to spread a different message.
The next presidential election is just 47 days away, and designer Tanya Taylor is using her time at New York Fashion Week wisely to urge people to vote. As Taylor noticed, registering to vote takes no more than two minutes, which is nothing compared to the amount of time we spend each day doing, well, basically anything else.
Taylor called upon her friends to make videos of themselves performing mundane everyday tasks, including Hillary Clinton playing with her dog, Mindy Kaling watering her plants, Stephanie Beatriz struggling to put in her contacts, Rosario Dawson taking off her makeup, Stacy London attempting to take a peaceful walk through nature, Sasheer Zamata hula hooping, and more.
The new video is in lieu of a runway show or lookbook for Taylor this fashion week season. She will still be releasing a Spring 2021 collection, but is holding off on sharing it until after the election.
"How we spend our time right now is something really important to consider," Taylor said at the beginning of the video. "We got to thinking that watching a fashion show actually takes more time than registering to vote."
NYLON spoke to Taylor about making the video, her plans for a new collection, and how the power of fashion can influence politics. Check out the video and interview, below, and don't forget to register to vote here.
Why did you decide to forgo a collection and focus on this initiative?
As we begin a new chapter of our business, our main focus is our customer and always putting them at the center of what we create. New York Fashion Week in its traditional format is confusing to our customer. We show them products that they won’t be able to buy for six months, if at all, introduced at events that they are not usually invited to. With everything going on in the world, we didn’t think our customer wanted to see a Spring 2021 collection right now and creating a fashion show wasn’t where the team wanted to spend our time and effort right now either. What matters at this moment is inspiring and energizing our community to register to vote.
How were you able to get such big names to be involved in the video?
We tapped into our community of amazing, strong, powerful women who are vocal about social issues to see if they liked the idea and would want to be involved. We were hoping we would get five or six people to say yes and ended up with 12! It was really incredible to see how supportive our community has been in addressing this important issue. I think the concept really clicked with people. It was easy for them to participate and they recognized the urgency of activating their audiences.
"The reach the [fashion] industry has is truly extraordinary and that influence should be used to encourage positive change."
What was the process like with everyone shooting their own content? Did you run into any problems?
It’s never easy trying to get the same content from 12 different people. We definitely ran into some hiccups where someone might have changed their activity at the last minute or their lighting or sound wasn’t great, but that was also the beauty of the project. The video is made for Instagram and we know that viewers want to see raw, real content and nothing that’s too produced.
We also wanted the videos to be authentic so we gave the women complete creative liberty. We gave very little direction to what each should film as we wanted them to choose activities that they actually did on a daily basis. The variety brought a lot of humor and individuality to the film.
Why do you think it’s important for the fashion industry to speak out on politics?
The fashion industry holds a lot of power. The reach the industry has is truly extraordinary and that influence should be used to encourage positive change. I think it’s important that designers feel a responsibility to use their platform to speak up for what they believe in and encourage change within their communities. This is an important election and I feel a personal responsibility to do all that I can to encourage our community to make their voices heard.
Do you have any plans right now for an upcoming collection?
We are still producing a Spring 2021 collection but in alignment with a new direct-to-consumer approach. We will show the new collection to press and consumers in January, a few weeks ahead of the its retail launch. Our team was not optimized to be working from home before the pandemic — I didn’t even know what Zoom was — and I have been so impressed with how we have been able to adapt and design, fit, and produce collections virtually. I’ve been in Toronto since March and just returned to New York City last week and was finally able to see and feel the collection in person. I’m so excited and I feel like it might be our best collection yet and truly is a reflection of incredible teamwork.