Yes, the Met Gala red carpet is a spectacle of luxury and opulence, but that’s also what makes it a great platform to make a statement. And that’s exactly what New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did when she arrived to the high fashion fête, even if it meant subtweeting some of her fellow attendees.
The Congresswoman wore a white off-the-shoulder gown by Brother Vellies, designed by founder and creative director Aurora James, with the words “TAX THE RICH” emblazoned down the back in bright red letters. The embellishment rings true to the progressive politician’s platform. In 2019, she proposed taxing the wealthy up to 70 percent to help fund the Green New Deal. She even sells a “Tax the Rich” sweatshirt on her website. As a first-timer at the Met Gala, where tickets cost up to $35,000 each, AOC’s wardrobe choice was every bit intentional.
“When Aurora and I were first kind of partnered, we started having a conversation about what it means to be working class women of color at the Met,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a red carpet interview. “And we said, you know, we can’t just play along, but we need to break the fourth wall, and challenge some of the institutions. And while the Met is known for its spectacle, we should have a conversation about it.”
“We can never get too comfortable in our seats at the table once they’ve been given,” James, founder of the 15 Percent Pledge, also said in a prior interview about AOC’s look. “We must always continue to push ourselves, push our colleagues, push the culture and push the country forward. Fashion is changing, America is changing.”
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While AOC’s bold look will surely get her very vocal critics talking, she’s familiar with handling insults about what she wears. (Remember that sexist tweet about her coat a few years ago?)
“There is so much policing of women and gender-expanding people on what we wear, how we fit in, how we look, because Congress is not used to anybody who doesn’t look like the norm,” she told ELLE.com in 2018 of the scrutiny on her appearance. “All you can really do is just bat it off.”
“The most powerful position you can be in is when you’re not trying to compromise yourself, and you’re just being unapologetically present, because we earned this seat. We’re going to take it, and we’re just going to represent in the way that we know how to best.”
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