When Maria Grazia Chiuri made a 'We Should All Be Feminists' t-shirt the star piece of her spring/summer 2017 collection for Christian Dior, it reignited a long-rumbling debate about the possibilities of the campaigning slogan t-shirt.
Are they, as some argue, a classic symbol of virtue signalling which has little real impact on the cause they claim to promote? Or a powerful tool for change and awareness-raising?
For Brita Fernandez Schmidt, Executive Director of Women for Women International, UK the answer is most definitely the latter. Which is why she was so pleased when luxury e-tailer Net-a-Porter approached Women for Women about working together on a project to mark International Women's Day this Thursday.
Women for Women International and Net-a-Porter have enlisted six of the most in-demand labels of the moment, including Off-White, Chloe, Rosie Assoulin, Ganni and Stella McCartney to create t-shirts in tribute to brave women, the proceeds from which will benefit the women traumatised by conflict with whom Women for Women International works around the world.
"When you see it, you want to wear it," says Fernandez Schmidt of the power of the charity, awareness-raising tee. "It becomes the starting point for a conversation. It's like Bella Freud's 'LOVE' jumpers, I think they really speak to us. The t-shirt is particularly powerful because they can be more affordable."
With political messages more prevalent than ever in fashion collections- think Missoni's knitted 'pussy' hats and Christopher Kane's Joy of Sex sketches- our style choices are becoming part of our personal belief set. "A t-shirt really states publicly what we stand for. We've seen designers like Maria Grazia Chiuri show that fashion can be used to promote a conscious cause; it's having your cake and eating it, too," says Fernandez Schmidt.
She cites the 'the phenomenal reach of 6 million customers in 170 countries and access to resources which as a charity we just don't have' as particularly appealing factors when it came to working with Net-a-Porter.
A little celebrity magic dust never goes amiss either; Nicole Kidman has been wearing the Chloe tee, Viola Davis and Helen Mirren have declared their love for Bella Freud's design and Natalia Vodianova is a fan of Stella McCartney's 'Thanks Girls' version.
Buy the Net-a-Porter x Women for Women t-shirts here