The Pink Hat that moved the World: The Pussy Hat Riot

Can the simple wearing of a “Pink Pussy Hat” move the world? 

2018-Phat-hat-collective

What we love to talk about here are brand stories.  Not just the ones created by fancy advertising agencies (those are certainly useful and effective) but the authentic stories; the kind that really moves people to action.  In the case of the “Pink Pussy” knit cap, the initial project began in earnest to unite a community.  (pussyhatpwroject.com) (#pussyhat). When this hat project was taken up around the world with its simple ‘home-made’ origins the women who could not attend the marches themselves could still feel a part of the community.  They could make something and pass it along. This is powerful and as a costume designer it re-confirms how powerful an item of clothing can be.  Some have mistakenly taken the color “Pink” to resemble a particular part of a woman’s anatomy but the hat is actually designed to reflect “pink” as a girls “empowerment color” and not literally, as the title suggests. The fact it has taken on almost ‘folkloric’ story and proportions was helped along by a certain exposure of a “tape” spoken by a certain individual also added to its history.

Here is what the originators have to say about the original concept: 

“The aim of Pussyhat Project is not just to make the hat, a singular moment recorded on January 21, 2017. It’s an ongoing movement that uses design to create social change, and inspires people who have felt invisible, feel visible”.

When fashion, and politics mix there is magic, empowerment and yes, even the moving of the political needle. Knitting circles that were already gatherings of women across the country, took up this hat and still do, as one of their projects.  They create the hats, pass them along to friends and sisters, mothers to daughters.  Yes, even some men have joined in to show their support. The hat this year, in 2018 is still powerful, and showed up in the recent protests on the one year anniversary of the Presidential Inauguration; now it means even more as they movement has taken up the cause and call to action: The movement to bring more voters to the polls. More women are and will be running in the upcoming elections, both locally and nationally. This is what a symbolic piece of clothing can do in a society. It is a concept not lost throughout history when kings and queens attempted to regulate the use of fabrics, clothes or types of clothing to the populace.  Yes, back in those medieval days if you weren’t a nobleman, you were not allowed to wear purple cloth; that privilege was reserved for the royal house.

What I see as a brand storyteller is both an individual and collective ownership of an idea and movement that is symbolized by a piece of clothing.  Communities around the world joined in making it one of the most powerful and unifying marches around the world.  The beauty of creation and ingenuity is the varied and colorful interpretations of the original idea, and that is what makes it so beautiful.

 

Editor’s Note: Thank you to the Los Angeles Times, The Pussyhat Project and Reuters for the images.

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