Fashion forged with cultural awareness undeniably affects the world.
Parsons School of Design at The New School, a graduate student constructed apparel that is both visually compelling and politically audacious. Lucia Cuba, Fulbright Scholar and
MFA Fashion Design and Society graduate, raised global awareness of injustice by incorporating messages of political and personal resistance into masterfully tailored fashions. At The New School, a university with a celebrated history of challenging convention, designers like
Cuba fashion new forms of protest from fabric and socially engaged design.
Cuba has taken the idea that fashion is an apolitical, solely aesthetic endeavor and turned it on its head. Her Artículo 6 project interrogates human rights infractions through her master’s thesis collection of provocative garments. The work poignantly draws attention to the forced sterilization of more than 300,000 Peruvian women in the 1990s at the decree of then president Alberto Fujimori. Embroidered into one dress in bold black type are the words of the law broken by the administration (Artículo 6), the text serving as a public denunciation of the atrocity. Another piece is stitched with the testimonies of victims, offering an unconventional outlet for their voices. A deconstructed traditional Peruvian skirt — full in the front and short in the back — hints at the stifling sexual stereotypes interwoven into our clothing, while ribbons of the same cloth tightly encircle the torso, symbolizing the theft of the women’s reproductive rights. Cuba shows her collection on models who wear waist-long, forward-facing plaits that obscure their faces, underscoring the erasure of freedom, agency, and personal narrative these women endured. Through her investigations into textiles and text, fashion and social justice, Lucia Cuba has elevated her medium and made an indelible political impact, winning recognition from style icon Lady Gaga, coverage in the New York Times and Elle magazine, and inclusion in New York Fashion Week.