#MeToo is center stage at Seoul Fashion Week

Fashion designers have always been inspired by politics. And at a time when there’s so much political drama around the world to draw from, runways in cities from New York to Moscow and Seoul have been filled with clothing that makes more than just a sartorial statement.

During Seoul Fashion Week, one Korean designer, Gee Choon-hee of Miss Gee Collection, brought the #MeToo movement to her catwalk. Models wore sweatshirts and tees emblazoned with bright red and blue embroidered letters that read, “#MeToo,” “#Speak,” and “#WithYou.”

These bold statements come at an especially complicated time for South Korea as it is undergoes its own #MeToo movement. The first major case went public in January, when prosecutor Seo Ji-hyun came forward on national television with her own harassment story, accusing a former boss of groping her in 2010. Ji-hyun’s bravery ignited South Korea’s #MeToo movement, which has since witnessed numerous women from a myriad of professions come forth to share their stories.

Just a few weeks ago, Seoul saw one of its biggest rising political stars, Ahn Hee-jung, fall at the hands of #MeToo. Hee-jung served as the governor of South Chungcheong Province and has been described as a “Korean Black Obama.” This all changed when one of his former secretaries, Kim Ji-eun, came forward alleging that Hee-jung had raped her four times since last June. The accusation spurred a ripple effect that compelled Hee-jung to resign from his governorship and issue an apology to Ji-eun on Facebook. “It’s all my fault,” Ahn said in the Facebook post. “I want to tell Ms. Kim Ji-eun that I am really sorry. I am asking for forgiveness for my foolish behavior.”

In Korean culture, predatory sexual behavior is typically written off as “just the way things are,” and many women learn to look the other way. But this mindset is changing as more women are joining the workforce; rape culture in South Korea is finally being recognized as a national problem that needs to be remedied. South Korea’s president remained silent on the issue for quite a while, but he has since come out in support of #MeToo, signaling what is, hopefully, change in the air.

“This is a problem that has been festering so long it could have burst open anytime,” he said in a report by the New York Times, urging legal authorities to open criminal investigations into the growing number of sexual abuse cases. “I applaud those who had the courage to tell their stories.”

Above, see all of the political statements made at fashion weeks so far.

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<p>Models wear shirts and tees that highlight the #MeToo movement, part of the Miss Gee Collection runway show during Seoul Fashion Week. (Photo: Instagram/missgeecollection) </p>
Miss Gee Collection

Models wear shirts and tees that highlight the #MeToo movement, part of the Miss Gee Collection runway show during Seoul Fashion Week. (Photo: Instagram/missgeecollection)

<p>A model wears a political statement tee that reads “Save the Date, 18.03.18” at the Atelier Gala B runway show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Atelier by Gala B

A model wears a political statement tee that reads “Save the Date, 18.03.18” at the Atelier Gala B runway show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Another model wears the political statement tee that reads “Save the Date, 18.03.18” at the Atelier Gala B runway show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Atelier by Gala B

Another model wears the political statement tee that reads “Save the Date, 18.03.18” at the Atelier Gala B runway show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>During a pop-up protest catwalk, Vivienne Westwood and a crew of activists and modelsin Knightsbridge, London, protest a fracking at the chemical plant Ineos. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Vivienne Westwood

During a pop-up protest catwalk, Vivienne Westwood and a crew of activists and modelsin Knightsbridge, London, protest a fracking at the chemical plant Ineos. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>A closeup of Vivienne Westwood at the “Ineos v. the People” catwalk protest. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Vivienne Westwood

A closeup of Vivienne Westwood at the “Ineos v. the People” catwalk protest. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Vivienne Westwood with a group of models and activists carrying a “Frack off Ineos” sign outside the Ineos headquarters. (Photo: GettyImages) </p>
Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood with a group of models and activists carrying a “Frack off Ineos” sign outside the Ineos headquarters. (Photo: GettyImages)

<p>Models wear a mixture of gray suiting, dresses, and embellished looks at the female-empowered Alice + Olivia FW18 presentation. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Alice + Olivia

Models wear a mixture of gray suiting, dresses, and embellished looks at the female-empowered Alice + Olivia FW18 presentation. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Models wear a colorful collection of floral, maximalist printed trousers, jackets, and dresses at the feminist Alice + Olivia FW18 presentation. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Alice + Olivia

Models wear a colorful collection of floral, maximalist printed trousers, jackets, and dresses at the feminist Alice + Olivia FW18 presentation. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Models at the Alice & Olivia fall 2018 presentation. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Alice + Olivia

Models at the Alice & Olivia fall 2018 presentation. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Models in front of the rewritten Bill of Rights geared toward women’s rights at the Alice + Olivia FW18 presentation. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Alice + Olivia

Models in front of the rewritten Bill of Rights geared toward women’s rights at the Alice + Olivia FW18 presentation. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>A sign at the Alice + Olivia FW18 presentation reads, “When women support each other, great things happen.” (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Female empowerment

A sign at the Alice + Olivia FW18 presentation reads, “When women support each other, great things happen.” (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Another sign reads “Shout out to girls who smile & compliment other girls.” (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Alice + Olivia

Another sign reads “Shout out to girls who smile & compliment other girls.” (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>A model wears a political tee (“Girls just wanna have fundamental rights”) designed by photographer Micol Sabbadini. (Photo: Courtesy of Zadig & Voltaire) </p>
Zadig & Voltaire

A model wears a political tee (“Girls just wanna have fundamental rights”) designed by photographer Micol Sabbadini. (Photo: Courtesy of Zadig & Voltaire)

<p>A model carries a sign that reads “Can’t say American without the Rican” during the runway show for Stella Nolasco. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Stella Nolasco

A model carries a sign that reads “Can’t say American without the Rican” during the runway show for Stella Nolasco. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>A close-up of the “Pussy Power” bag at the Tom Ford fall/winter 2018 runway show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Tom Ford purple glitter purse

A close-up of the “Pussy Power” bag at the Tom Ford fall/winter 2018 runway show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>A model carries a shiny bag with a statement at the Tom Ford fall/winter 2018 runway show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Tom Ford

A model carries a shiny bag with a statement at the Tom Ford fall/winter 2018 runway show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>A model wears a blue “tattoo” across the face and neck that reads “Higher self” at the Collina Strada fall/winter 2018 runway show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Collina Strada

A model wears a blue “tattoo” across the face and neck that reads “Higher self” at the Collina Strada fall/winter 2018 runway show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>A model wears a blue “tattoo” on her face that reads “Self Love” at the Collina Strada fall/winter 2018 runway show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Collina Strada

A model wears a blue “tattoo” on her face that reads “Self Love” at the Collina Strada fall/winter 2018 runway show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>A model walks the Stella Nolasco runway show carrying a sign that reads “Equality is sexy!” during New York Fashion Week. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Stella Nolasco: ‘Equality is sexy!’

A model walks the Stella Nolasco runway show carrying a sign that reads “Equality is sexy!” during New York Fashion Week. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Dayanara Torres walks the Stella Nolasco runway show carrying a Puerto Rican flag. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Stella Nolasco: Puerto Rican flag

Dayanara Torres walks the Stella Nolasco runway show carrying a Puerto Rican flag. (Photo: Getty Images)

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