In advance of March For Our Lives, the fashion industry takes a stand against gun violence

In advance of Saturday’s March For Our Lives demonstration to protest gun violence, the fashion industry is once again flexing its collective muscles to take a stand.

While the main march will take place in Washington, D.C. as part of an effort to urge Congress to enact stricter legislation around gun ownership, designers like Prabal Gurung and fashion and lifestyle publications like Teen Vogue are making statements of their own. Mirroring its efforts to support Planned Parenthood and immigrants in the wake of respective Trump administration policies that threatened reproductive rights and deportation, the industry is finding ways to galvanize followers to advocate against violence in the wake of a slew of deadly mass shootings.

As part of the movement, Gurung — who Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan recently referred to as “the most woke man in fashion” for his work on social issues and diversity, particularly as it pertains to size and race — is teaming with the experiential venue company Skylight on a two-day light installation. The installation, titled Freedom From Fear, will be erected at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island and visible from the east side of Manhattan. Viewers will see four pillars of white light projected into the sky to symbolize FDR’s “four freedoms”: freedom of speech, worship, want and fear.

Gurung was tasked with art directing and selecting a color palette for the effort, and was joined by light artist Bentley Meeker and Rolling Stone magazine, which helped create messaging that will be visible from the base of the monument.

Stephanie Blake, the CEO of Skylight and brainchild behind the installation, said she was moved to make some form of statement after the Parkland High School shooting in Florida in February. Once the idea for a light fixture came together, she sought out partners with a track record for championing related issues. These included Gurung, who she has worked closely with over the years and said she had long felt inspired by how “he uses his medium to speak out to inspire unity and action.”

On the fashion and lifestyle media end, Teen Vogue debuted a digital cover this morning featuring student gun violence activists. In a video posted by chief content officer Phillip Picardi on Instagram, the students are seen laying seemingly lifeless on the ground of a school hallway, before they suddenly stand up and lift up their hands in surrender as the words “You’re killing us” appear on the screen.

The issue includes a cover story written by Parkland High School student Emma Gonzalez, as well as content like “How to survive a school shooting,” which Picardi described as “the most unfortunate headline we’ve ever published.” Others, like Seventeen magazine, are chartering a bus from New York City to D.C. for the March for Our Lives for teen activists from several organizations.

The efforts by Teen Vogue and Seventeen, as well as the Freedom From Fear installation, come on the heels of several corporate entities taking stands against gun violence, including mass retailers like Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods shifting policies like raising its minimum age for gun buyers to 21 years old. Blake said now, more than ever, public figures and companies, regardless of corporate interest, need to make a call to action.


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