Alexander Wang’s Done Pro-LGBT Beanies. But How Political Can A Hat Really Get?

Cara and co have been wearing the anti-Sochi beanies.


by Zing Tsjeng |
Published on

What with Pussy Riot being whipped by guards and the arrest of LGBT activists like Vladimir Luxuria, it’s become increasingly clear that – despite Team GB’s victories – the Winter Olympics aren’t exactly the feel-good sporting event of the year. The question is: what are you going to do about? Sign a petition? Write to your MP? What about buying a £79 cashmere beanie?


Rihanna, Cara Delevingne and model Constance Jablonskihave all Instagrammed themselves wearing Alexander Wang’s P6 beanie, which supports an LGBT campaign called Principle 6. Taking its name from the entry in the Olympic Charter that condemns discrimination of any kind, the creators hoped that Olympic athletes would don P6 apparel as a way to subtly register their protest against Russia’s anti-gay law, which is so extreme that it condemns any form of gay ‘propaganda’. So far, despite the celeb support, nobody’s been seen wearing one at Sochi.



Fashion has a long history of political statements. Remember the keffiyeh craze a few years back? You couldn’t swing a Klaxons member without hitting somebody wearing the checked scarf of the Palestinian resistance. Or think back to any of Benetton’s controversial 90s ad campaigns, featuring AIDS patients or victims of Italian mafia shootings. Fashion has always flirted with politics as an easy way to grab attention and gain kudos for being, er, not just totally obsessed with superficial things like pretty frocks.

The thing is, it’s all about context. Katherine Hamnett once met Margaret Thatcher wearing an anti-nuclear arms T-shirt, at a time when NATO was considering deploying nuclear missiles in Europe. Now, that takes guts. Wearing a Che Guevera T-shirt at your student union? Not so much. Instagramming yourself wearing a beanie, with little to no explanation of what its slogan even means? Nope, not feeling that either. It’s great tha every single penny of the proceeds from Wang’s beanie goes to LGBT groups, because it probably isn’t doing much to raise awareness – how many Russians actually know what P6 would stand for?

Instead, the beanie is turning LGBT rights into an accessory, a quick way to signal to the world that you’re into fashion but you also, like, know what’s going on in the world. If you really want to help, just donate £79 to Principle 6, Amnesty or LGBT charity All Out – at least all your money goes directly to people in need, and not the manufacturers who made your feel-good souvenir. Put it this way: if you really cared, you wouldn’t need to broadcast it on your beanie.

Follow Zing on Twitter @misszing

Pictures: @badgalriri, @caradelevingne, @constjablonski, @manrepeller

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us