‘Fashion is revolution’, is the title of the book by the writer and ambassador of sustainability Laura Opazo. Presents book with Planet and makes a review of those revolutionary women who took important steps in the world of fashion. Women as the designer Coco Chanel or the fashion editor Diana Vreeland, women like singers Rosalia or Madonna, like the painter Frida Kahlo, that each one in their role in history, have propagated that revolution that Cleopatra already started… And that has not been able to enter the book, because it has to delimit with history. We have spoken with Laura Opazo, fashion writer, revolution and reference, and this is what she has told us.
Question: How did the idea of creating this book come about?
Response from Laura Opazo: The first book I wrote, ‘Sustainable Wardrobe’ was commissioned by the publisher and it coincided that I had written a kind of 50-page booklet on sustainable fashion, on how to make the transition from bulimic consumption. to a more conscious one. It was a script that was going to be able to be downloaded from my website but Planeta crossed paths. What started as a 50-page booklet became a 250-page book. With the confidence of the publisher, I allowed myself the license to pitch this idea to you last year: pay homage to all those women who have defined the fashion discourse over the last centuries. I would have loved to start from Cleopatra… But we had to delimit. They really liked the idea and gave me the green light.
Q: What is the objective and who is it focused on? It gives me the feeling that the younger generations, and not so young, don’t have as many references… And I think it’s great that you value so many names that aren’t read as much on social networks.
A: The publisher had a clearer vision, they wanted me to go to generation Z. But in my case I wasn’t looking for that so much: I don’t really go to a certain group, it’s people in general who like history and want to understand the why of many things that happen nowadays. Fashion is not a loose verse, those wonderful trends that are seen on the catwalks, fashion -as you know- accompanies all historical changes, it is a silent narrator of what has been happening throughout the centuries. These figures must be valued because we have references of style to influencers or public figures with a trickster style… But In order for these women to be “free,” or for us to be free with our closet and write our own narrative, there have been others who had to stick their noses in it.
Q. What do women like Rosalía, Stella McCartney or Coco Chanel have in common?
A: They are women who belong to different historical moments and different socioeconomic contexts, some with a more powerful position, others started from anonymity… But What they all have in common is that they have been brave, some were ahead of their time and have created their own narrative, despite the limitations they might have around them.
Q: Viviene Westwood said that you have to invest in fashion that makes the world better… Being an expert in sustainability, you give it a lot of value, of course. Is there a lack of references in fashion with this mentality?
A: There is one thing that my two books have in common: when I started writing the first one and I pulled the thread a bit, to see who started this sustainability thing, the name of Katherine Hamnett, Vivienne Westwood and of course, Stella McCartney. These three women also appear in ‘Fashion is Revolution’. Sustainable fashion is closely linked to female empowerment. When one begins to investigate the fast fashion, you realize that all those who work in the factories are women, who work with very lax policies… As women they exploit us from the beginning to the end of the chain: working, and as consumers, generating needs for us. In addition, there is an aesthetic canon. How could we not lead that change? There are more people within the sector who don’t have as much voice… But it would be interesting if there were more and more names.
Q: I like that you give examples like Miuccia Prada, who represents ‘the intellectualization of fashion’… do you think that social networks have devalued fashion in that sense? It gives me the feeling that people think that fashion is clothing… And that’s it.
A: I love that Miuccia Prada has intellectualized fashion, without being pedantic, giving space for reflection. That seems fascinating to me. He reminds me of Schiaparelli, who took fashion to a more artistic level. All that frivolous part that we can think… In the end you realize that fashion is full of meaning. Today, with social networks -and the exaltation of fast fashion-, fashion has become pauperized. Trends don’t make any sense, they are trends express that do not accompany society. They are empty, meaningless. The figure of Miuccia, with this context, is interesting because it generates debate and reflection.
Q: What differences does Laura Opazo see between Katharine Hepburn, Frida Khalo, or Billie Eilish, for example? Are there values that have been lost? Has it been difficult for you to find references nowadays? It’s hard for me personally… I think there are icons that are unrepeatable, like Diana Vreelanda was in her day.
A: I think that comparing them is not fair, because each of them had to live a different moment. Now it seems that everything is easier and it is simply that there are other types of problems. We are in a society focused on image, since the 80s, but now much more with the rise of social networks… And I believe that the role of each one, without detracting from others, has been fundamental. Yes, it is true that you have to see things with perspective, but they have all given us empowerment. I think we are also speaking from a very Western point of view and today women are being engendered who will be benchmarks in the more Eastern world. There is still a long way to go… And possibly there are many women who have an important role, even if they do not appear in the book.
Q: How can one change the world through fashion?
A: Naturally. With our image we communicate more than we think because the clothes we wear are a very powerful non-verbal communication tool. Through our aesthetic choices we can send a great message without saying a word. In addition, when buying, for many consumers it is no longer enough to look at the three B’s (good, nice, cheap), they prefer to bet on companies that live in today’s world, and by this I mean that they are involved with the planet in the one we live in and with the people who inhabit it. If that company exploits its employees (it goes without saying that in the textile sector, there are many women who work at the bottom of the chain in indescribable conditions) or does not reconsider its processes and the environmental impact they generate, they may get out of business. The equation. Getting dressed is a political act, because when we buy we are supporting a type of production model and with every euro we invest, we are giving more power and, at the same time, affirming the values of a company. Of course we can promote a change in the sector, guiding companies from our purchase decisions.