Cult fashion: Pugh brings feminist tribe to Paris

07 : 03 : 2013 Gareth Pugh : Feminism : Tribe

Paris – Fashion designer Gareth Pugh drew inspiration from an all-female tribe of warriors for his latest collection. The Asgarda tribe, from the Carpathian mountains in Ukraine, follow an educational regime of martial arts, Grecian wisdom, sciences and arts. Their philosophy is to equip themselves to live independent well-rounded lives – in contrast to the overt sexualisation, gender stereotyping and human trafficking experienced by some young women in Ukrainian culture.

Pugh’s collection mirrors the warrior shapes worn by the Asgarda and references their cut-off sleeves, flared hemlines and monochrome colour palette. They also wear traditional Carpathian white cotton, not shown here. The opening pieces in Pugh’s show were decorated with tree branches in a nod to the mountain forests where the community lives.

This is not the first time Pugh has conjured a cult aesthetic. The designer built his brand on goth-luxe looks and fetishistic costume pieces. But it is the feminist angle that interests LS:N Global. Fifty years after the publication of Betty Friedan’s seminal text The Feminine Mystique and as popular feminist voices such as Caitlin Moran gain mainstream credence, we are seeing a resurgent interest in women’s rights and gender equality. 

Look out for our Womenomics report and related stories on emerging female mindsets – hinted at here by Pugh’s reincarnation of the Asgarda. Pugh is not the only pro-feminist luxury brand. For another example, read our report on Gucci’s new women’s rights campaign.

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