When singer and award-winning actress Janelle Monáe arrived at the 2023 Met Gala red carpet, she made more than a fashion statement. Monáe, wearing a black and white suit and platform boots by designer and Council of Fashion Designers of America chairman Thom Browne, is just the latest showing of how Hollywood and fashion are very much connected. The current writers strike is no different. The outcome will not only impact the future of writers for streaming, broadcast TV and film, but it will set the tone for how we pay and value creative talent across industries — including fashion.
Hollywood and fashion have always had a codependent relationship, so it’s only obvious that the fashion industry support writers in the biggest fight of their careers. Fashion needs celebrity talent to wear their designs — whether it’s on the red carpet or silver screen. And Hollywood writers need designers and stylists to bring their stories to life. In the early days of streaming original content, Netflix series “House of Cards” featured power looks by Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors to portray the ambitious lobbyist turned politician Claire Underwood. “Scandal’s” Olivia Pope would not be the DC fixer without her Tory Burch trench coat in the pilot episode and signature white fedora. And Ambassador Kate Wyler’s red dress in “The Diplomat” season 1 finale on Netflix left viewers excited about a recently-confirmed season 2 — the streamer’s top series in its first week.
Hollywood has also employed fashion talent for decades. Motion picture and video lead the nation as the top paying industries for fashion designers, with an annual mean wage of $113, 950, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2022 data. And the states at the epicenter of the current writers strike — California and New York — employ the most fashion designers in the U.S.
But when it comes to legal and policy issues impacting entertainment and fashion, the two could not be more disconnected — even when fighting to protect similar interests. In 2011 and 2012, entertainment and fashion talent fought for copyright protection for their respective industries.