It seems like only yesterday John Galliano was showing his animosity towards Jews and Asians while describing his admiration of Hitler. It’s been barely a year since we’re had an incident where the fashion industry has had to pretend they were concerned with instances of racism. I think that year has made them a bit comfortable, because they seem to believe that everyone suddenly forgot racism exists. Luckily in the past few weeks the fashion industry has taken to reminding us of how racism permeates every aspect of our white supremacist culture. Let’s look at what’s gone on in just the past few weeks…
Besides the fact that mammy imagery in itself is dehumanizing and offensive as fuck, who in their right mind would still think that Colonial-chic is ok? Dolce & Gabbana, that’s who. And they were not content confining themselves to hanging black women from white models’ earlobes:
The dress in question is not only offensive to the eye in the fact that it’s ugly as fuck, it’s also got mammies all over it. How you gonna have a runway show and the only black faces featured are on the clothing and accessaries? Yup you heard right- there weren’t even any black models. Come on! I figured most fashion shows have at least a token, but NONE? Apparently black people are good enough to exploit as inspiration for hideous clothing, but not good enough to actually employ.
But racism is not just for haute couture brands. Ready-to-wear brands have decided to join in on the racist bandwagon. For example, just last week Victoria’s Secret launched their Eastern-inspired lingerie collection entitled, “Go East.” What exactly does ‘Going East’ entail? This:
What makes this a ‘Geisha’ themed teddy? The chop sticks and a fan of course. Slap that on a Swedish model and there you have it- Asian-themed fashion. I’m sure Geishas, renowned for their various skills in Japanese classical music and dance appreciate having their craft reduced to a piece of underwear billed as one’s “ticket to exotic adventure”.
Wait a minute. Something’s missing. Racist fashion without mention of hipster headdresses? No war paint? Well don’t worry, Paul Frank’s got you covered in terms of exploiting the already most-exploited people.
To his credit, after Native American activists cried foul and the shit hit the fan, Paul cleaned up his act (but not before having an exciting ‘Dream Catcher‘ FNO party!). According to Jezebel, Frank has ”apologized on Facebook, and has now taken additional steps to make amends: company president Elie Dekel had a phone conversation with Adrienne K (and plans to have one with Metcalfe) to inform her that all Native imagery had been pulled from the stores and online, as well as invite her and Metcalfe to speak on a panel about the use of Native designs in retail at next June’s International Licensing Merchandisers Association conference. Finally, the company has announced that they’ll be hiring a Native designer to produce a new line whose earnings will go towards a Native American charity.” Well, at least there’s that. I guess out of every racist storm-cloud there’s a white-guilt silver lining.
This has been your update of the latest racism trends in fashion. What’s next? Uncle Tom neckties? An Aborigine-themed party? Who knows. The fashion industry is always coming out with ugly and tasteless ways to dehumanize and reappropriate cultures. I’m sure they’ll use their brains to come up with something.Tweet