From local catwalks to global sell out shows, high luxury brands feature their best articles of clothing clad on thin models strutting to and fro. While decades ago, these shows exhibited an excitement and appreciation for creative fashion, they now run with a completely different stream of media. Not only have Victoria Secret's fashion shows been called out for lack of diversity and inhumane dietary restrictions, the Dolce and Gabana line was also dropped from the Chinese market just weeks ago, accused for being racist, and the Burberry noose representation received heavy backlash from social media the moment it was released.
Today, the fashion industry is a weapon for social change and a platform to spread messages; however, sometimes, these message come across for the better or the worse. The instances shown below are those of the most inappropriate nature that also signifies a dark reality that many are unaware of.
The Burberry Noose
Best known for its checkered-pattern fashion statements, Burberry recently showcased its new collector's item, a hoodie featuring a noose instead of drawstrings. The media exploded with harsh criticisms, calling out Burberry as insensitive to suicide and inciting lynching imagery.
Yet another allusion to the era of Jim Crow, the Gucci 'Blackface' sweater seemed to mock the blackface minstrel shows that portrayed African Americans in ridiculous proportions. Gucci was called out for racial insensitivity, and they eventually removed the $890 product.
Dolce and Gabana's Racist Ad
Scheduled for a fashion extravaganza in China, Dolce and Gabana appeared to point out that Asians were inferior to Europeans, displaying a docile Asian woman struggling to spaghetti, cannoli and pizza with chopsticks. Additionally, a Chinese pronunciation of "Dolce and Gabana" was presented, laden with sarcasm and over-accented words to convey a type of humor. The video sent waves of insults from Shanghai, which then disbanded the fashion show and sent people into a furious boycott against Dolce and Gabana's products. The ad has since been removed from the media.
These small figurines were first released as a fun accessory for any bag, purse or key chain; however, once displayed outside stores, the public went furious, calling them a model of "Golliwag" puppets that were often used as derogartory references to African Americans. While Prada profusely rejected their notion of racism, the product was still taken off the line and its legacy remains until today.
During the last decade as the media integrated fashion as another outlet for expression, sensitive and controversial topics have emerged, often striking racial imagery that degrades minorities and those of color. While many have called out the public for being insensitive, this act simply points out that a divide still exists in America to the point that many feel that they need to point out the right and wrongs of the fashion industry. Thus, this underlying tension must be exposed to incite further discussion from the public, enforcing the inclusion of more voice and freedom from the media. Ultimately, these fashion fails may seem like a small slip up to some, but do they reveal a deeper, darker side? Are fashion lines secretly racist? What is your stance?