On the Runway: Activism at the Met Gala

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It was the first Met Gala for both. Ms. Park, who had never seen a fashion magazine in North Korea and was “told what we could and could not wear by the government,” called the experience “difficult to comprehend.”

Reading about it afterward, she said, “I keep seeing who else was there, and thinking, ‘Really, I was there?’”

Ms. Park, who is highly regarded by activists after an array of international speaking engagements, including a TEDx talk and speeches at the Oslo Freedom Forum and One Young World Summit, said she hoped her presence at the gala would, in itself, be a statement and “bring other things to the table” on one of fashion’s most important evenings.

The pair largely shied away from the ordinary protocols of the evening, including public relations blasts announcing their attendance and of-the-minute social media documentation. But they said they used the cocktail period and the seated dinner to talk with other guests about the issue of displaced people. Among those attendees were Wendi Murdoch; Marissa Mayer, the president and chief executive of Yahoo; Anne Wojcicki, an entrepreneur; Joshua Kushner, a well-known investor; Kelly Slater, the professional surfer turned sustainable designer; and Karlie Kloss, an activist supermodel.

According to Mr. Gebbia, who says he “loves fashion, beauty, design and culture above all else,” the idea was “about using that promenade in a meaningful way.” And no one complained, they noted.

“I couldn’t have come to my very first Met Gala in any other way,” Mr. Gebbia said. “Nor could I have found a better way better to honor Rei Kawakubo’s core principles of constant risk-taking and venturing into the unknown in her journey toward artistic breakthrough.”

“It’s only our most unorthodox heroes that give us the confidence to step outside our own comfort zones.”

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Source: New York Times

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