Articles / Photos by Jaja Nwokeabia
If you want to be heard, sometimes you’ve got to wear your message on your chest! Designer Johnson Hartig did just that, using his Spring/Summer 2012 collection to voice his strong opinion about taxes. He sent models down the catwalk in T-shirts and skirts emblazoned with the message “TAX THE RICH MORE!” Backstage after the show he said his collection was very political. “If the richest people pay just 10% more a year in taxes it would solve a lot of this nation’s problems,” Hartig said. Known for juxtaposing vibrant screen prints with gothic looks and vintage-inspired silhouettes, Libertine took a more serious and somber tone this time around. Models donned head-to-toe black looks screen-printed with vertical white lines vaguely resembled prison stripes. Not what you’d expect for a spring or summer outfit, but Hartig has never been one to play by the rules. The Los Angeles-based stated that his reason for using a mostly black-and-white pallete was that his screen prints worked better on black and white. Yet one couldn’t help wonder if his urgent message to Washington, D.C., influenced the dark tone of the show, which took place in a large cavernous space in Midtown. A belted cream-colored coat with ’60s flower prints was one of the standout pieces. Another highlight was a crimson silk full length dress with horizontal white stripes. A pink-haired model donned a graffiti cape-like black coat with that could easily fit into Lady Gaga’s wardrobe. Eye candy came in the form of buff male models wearing only printed tighty-whities. Fashion and politics at least have this much in common: when done right they provoke us to stop and to think.