Why Voting Matters

Polling_station_6_mayThere’s a sense of excitement in the air today, people smiled as they passed one another in the street, polling cards in hands. My phone’s beeping with election chat. Is it the prospect of participation or the possibility of change that’s making the atmosphere fizz? Or is it just me? Or maybe it’s the sunshine.

Voting matters today esepcially for many reasons. It matters because… it’s about people. It’s about you, me, and us. It’s about the society we live in and how we chose to distribute our resources. It’s about how we connect to those we live alongside and whose lives may be very different to ours. It matters because of history and because of the future. It’s about choosing what to stand up for.

It especially matters today because it’s still too close to call – it will be one of the closest results in history, if not the closest. And because for this one-day window we get to participate in our imperfect democratic system as citizens, citizens who have a responsibility and a voice – and we are lucky. All too often politics seems removed from our lives, seen only as what happens at Westminster but an election, especially this one, allows the conversation to widen and to let ideas about change, hope, health, and wealth be discussed and debated not just by politicians and the media but by all of us. It has been a chance to talk about the small things in life that we don’t always associate with the political.

I see this election as a disruption to the normal path of politics and disruptions are exciting as they produce change and opportunity. We see that in fashion too, at the edges there are new ways of doing things, challenges to the status quo. Here at CSF we talk a lot about change, our guiding principles have the notion of  transformation running through them: challenging conventional aesthetics, radicalizing practice, being a voice for change, influencing citizen action and dreaming with eyes wide open for feasible ideas that can flourish in the world as it is and as it might be.

I looked back over my notes about the election and noted some words cropping up regularly: change, stability, trust, transparency, empathy, confidence, connection, confusion, hope, complexity, power and resilience were a few of them. The same words crop up in my notes about new possibilities for fashion…

We want to see change in the fashion industry so it values the skills, the materials and the processes that go into making the clothes that we wear. For change to happen in fashion it also needs to happen in our society and our culture; the changes that need to happen go way beyond one industry and one election. Though we also know that change doesn’t happen overnight. It is this possibility of change that is why voting matters. And why fashion matters so much here at CSF.