Exclusive all round, no minsMandatory Credit: Photo by Tiffany Bri/BFA/REX/Shutterstock (9353099av)Sarah Sophie Flicker, Aurora James, Paola MendozaTogether We Rise x NYFW event hosted by The Women's March and Planned Parenthood, New York, USA - 03 Feb 2018

New York Fashion Week didn’t technically begin until today, but over the weekend the industry got a jump start on things with a party to raise awareness around women’s issues and the upcoming midterm Congressional elections, in partnership with the Women’s March and Planned Parenthood.

The event, called Together We Rise x NYFW, showcased items especially made for the fundraiser by the likes of Brandon Maxwell, Gabriela Hearst, Edie Parker, Brother Vellies, Ulla Johnson, La Ligne, Clare V., Chromat, CVC Stores, Eva Fehren. Mara Hoffman and more.

The objective of the evening, which expands on last year’s Fashion Stands With Planned Parenthood, launched by Tracy Reese and the CFDA, was to “empower the fashion industry to be involved in the resistant,” said Paola Mendoza of the Women’s March.

“I think it’s incredibly important that fashion is part of this,” former Glamour editor in chief, Cindi Leive, told the crowd. “I worked for 16 years as the editor of a fashion magazine and to see fashion and activism coming together right now is thrilling.”

“I’ve been trying to support Planned Parenthood for a year and a half now,” said Brother Vellies’ Aurora James, who was responsible for corralling all the designers. “To be honest, about 90 percent of the designers I talked to, despite it being the busiest time of the year, were like ‘tell me what I have to do, I’m 1,000 percent in.’”

The reasoning? “I think it’s because right now for creative people, they’re feeling so helpless when it comes to government decisions, like there’s not that much that you can do,” James continued. “And as an artist — and as designers, we are artists — we can have the choice to use our art for good things and to speak messages and to have people think about things. And to raise money, which is the point of what we are doing.”

“I think what’s important is that since Donald Trump’s election, we’ve really seen how people, myself included, have taken their fashion to be their political statements,” Mendoza added. “I have a Lingua Franca sweater and on it it says ‘I am an immigrant.’ In today’s America, ‘I am an immigrant’ is a political statement. And I have a shirt that says ‘feminist’ and a shirt that says ‘I am also a dreamer,’ so all of these political ideologies are now present on our clothes. Individuals are saying ‘I want my voice and my political views to be heard.’”

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