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24-01-2014
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Racism in the Fashion Industry
Please keep in mind this thread is located in the Fashion In Depth section of the forums which has very specific rules:
*Please note in those that we do not allow quick remarks, and instead require thoughtful commentary.

Absolutely no name calling or insulting other members, regardless of their opinions, will be allowed.

Racial Diversity in Modeling has been one of our most successful threads, and has lead to some direct changes in the industry. Let's have this thread operate in the same civilized and intelligent manner, this is too important of a subject to ignore.

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24-01-2014
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A few pieces to get us started:

Quote:
Vogue Italia Segregates Black Street Style Photos On Their Website

Today, 51 years after Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream Speech,” 50 years after the passing of the monumental Civil Rights Act of 1964, and on the exact day of celebrating MLK Jr.’s memory, it’s incredible and disheartening that we’re still dealing with issues of racism in the fashion industry and beyond. A new op-ed by Jason Campbell (of the JC Report) published today on “The Business of Fashion,” breaks down yet another impressive example of racial insensitivity–this time out of Vogue Italia.

The Italian issue of the iconic fashion magazine isn’t exactly known for having the right idea about how to be diverse, and they’re frequently under fire for seemingly racist editorials. But the most recent offense just might be the worst one of all. In their coverage of Pitti Uomo in Florence, the site launched a new column in the “Vogue Black” section of their website called “Voguista Black” where they exclusively published all their images of black street style stars. It’s hard to say what misguided judgement could have led to such a strange and offensive decision, but it’s clear that the editors of Vogue Italia‘s website don’t see the fashion world through color-blind glasses.

Jason Campbell poignantly summed up what’s so bothersome–especially to black Americans– about Voguista Black in his op-ed, saying:

“Separate but equal, the intrinsic message of “Vogue Black,” is a historical concept all too familiar to black people, especially in America. Images of water fountains labelled “white” and “coloured,” and separate seating at diner counters come to mind. One only has to see director Lee Daniels’ recent film The Butler to be reminded of those wrenching representations of being included, but not extended the same benefits and respect. It imparts the impression of otherness; a feeling that you cannot be served here. And you don’t have to have lived in America, or be American, to feel the pangs of this division and empathise with this legacy of injustice and bigotry.”

While the Beth Hardison’s diversity coalition is doing positive work to promote more diversity in fashion and help put an end to runway racism, it’s times like this that make one wonder just how long change will take–both in the fashion world and the world at large. The fact of the matter is that crafting a more diverse fashion world will have to be an institutional change that comes from the top–and right now the folks at the top are not a representative group, and they have little incentive to change their ways.

It’s not all bad though, Campbell mentions some recent successes for diversity in fashion, including the diverse Givenchy campaign staring Erykah Badu, and Luptia Nyong’o's Dazed and Confused cover.

Still, it’s disheartening to see, time and time again, such blatant depictions of inequality. We hope that covering the issue can start some positive discourse and help pave the way for change.
styleblazer.com


Quote:
Magazine Sees Nothing Wrong With Placing Russian Socialite On Black Woman Bondage Chairs



On the day the country was reflecting on civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an online magazine chose to publish an article with a photo of a Russian socialite sitting on a chair with a Black woman underneath dressed in bondage. The photo sparked heated online backlash before it was replaced with a cropped version, where only the legs are visible. The photo was also removed from Instagram as well, following a slew of complaints from the masses, according to The London Evening Standard.

The White woman sitting on the Black woman chair is Russian socialite and editor–in-chief of Garage Magazine, Dasha Zhukova. The realistic-looking Black woman is actually a mannequin. It is half nude, except for black panties, a garter belt, elbow-length black gloves and knee-high boots. Her folded knees are pushing her naked breasts against her body.

Zhukova, on the other hand, sits perched atop the Black woman dressed in a white top and jeans, as she blankly stares into the camera.

Many who viewed the photograph felt it was a definite racist representation of White superiority. The Black woman depicted as an inanimate object used to service the White dominant female is unarguably demeaning, disgraceful and reminiscent of the degradation Black women have endured over decades.

But unfortunately, not everyone sees this “work of art” as racist. Zhukova, who claims she “abhors racism,” defends the photograph. “This photograph, which has been published completely out of context, is of an artwork intended specifically as a commentary on gender and racial politics,” she said. “I utterly abhor racism, and would like to apologize to anyone who has been offended by this image.”

The group, Organizing for Women’s Liberation, who staunchly believe that the objectification of women is never an acceptable practice, also joined in the throngs of criticisms over the photo after it made its way across the net.

The artist who created the original chair, Allen Jones, designed it in 1969 and used a White woman. Allen’s design collection also included a table and hat stand. Now 76-years-old, Allen, who has been accused of being a misogynist, told The London Evening Standard he created the series of body art furniture to show that the human form could be “functional.”
newsone.com

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24-01-2014
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And let's not forget the Chanel Paris-Dallas Pre-Fall 2014 show -- SugarMe pointed out that Native American contoversies have often plagued the fashion industry:

http://forums.thefashionspot.com/sho...7&postcount=84
Quote:
The fact of the matter is that the people who wear and designers who showcase this headdress are willfully ignoring the wishes of Native American people who do not want their sacred symbols to be featured as a costume or trend when they are used inappropriately. How many headdress/Native American controversies have we seen in the past few years? Victoria's Secret. No Doubt. Lana Del Rey. Paul Frank. Charlotte Casiraghi. H&M. The ongoing sports mascot controversy. Every time Halloween rolls around. Khloe Kardashian. Kesha. Urban Outfitters. The list goes on

+ Purple Magazine

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24-01-2014
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And the recent African Themed Halloween Party that industry insiders threw:
http://forums.thefashionspot.com/f63...ty-243017.html

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24-01-2014
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So, discuss! Or read and digest. But hopefully (please!) bring pieces in as you see them.

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24-01-2014
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Quote:
Magazine Sees Nothing Wrong With Placing Russian Socialite On Black Woman Bondage Chairs
I can't even find words to..

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24-01-2014
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I rolled my eyes so hard at this:

Quote:
A more all-inclusive Balmain. That was the takeaway from Olivier Rousteing's Pre-Fall collection. Not only in terms of dollar signs—although he is adding cotton sportswear separates to the lineup and making new forays into knitwear to bring the high prices down—but also in terms of whom it's made for and who's buying it. "Sometimes fashion is a bit close-minded," he said at his showroom. "I'm black, and I want to push [the idea] that Balmain is for different cultures, different ethnicities. It's for all the girls in the world."
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"I'm black, and I want to push [the idea] that Balmain is for different cultures, different ethnicities. It's for all the girls in the world." Yeah and your idea to achieve that is booking a black model and making a Africa-safari inspired collection? I mean, seriously?

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25-01-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeatherAnne View Post
And let's not forget the Chanel Paris-Dallas Pre-Fall 2014 show -- SugarMe pointed out that Native American contoversies have often plagued the fashion industry:

http://forums.thefashionspot.com/sho...7&postcount=84



+ Purple Magazine
I'm sorry, but I fail to see some of these as offensive. The Purple Magazine for example. Is it prohibited to recreate an image or scenery? Then all the movies about Indian's should be banned as well.

Oh and how about the Prada or Louis Vuitton headdresses?

The black woman seat is absolutely ridiculous and disgusting though.

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25-01-2014
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Regarding the Native American headdress controversies in recent days, I have always been incredibly astonished by the fact that those are seen as racist outings. Maybe it is because I am European that I find it difficult to relate to those who are offended by it - seeing how there is no history here concerning racism towards the Native American. For me the use of references to the Native American culture are no different than designers referencing nuns, codes from Arabian cultures or Asian tradititonal clothing.

There are plenty of headdresses that have now become iconic in the fashion industry (Gaultier anyone?) because the designers acknowledged their beauty, got inspired by it and created something amazingly poignant. Is that not what fashion is all about?

Whenever designers use something from my culture or national history I feel great pride about it. If a headdress is racist, is a Western take on the kimono or the burqah not racist as well? I just don't feel the term racist is in place when it comes to being inspired by other cultures.

So why is it that headdresses are perceived as racist and kimonos are not? Wherein lies the difference?

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25-01-2014
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I agree. I have read that Native American headdress or War Bonnet what there actually. They presented as symbols of honor and respect and have to be earned. Some communities give them to children when they become adults through special ceremonies, others present the feathers as a way of commemorating an act or event of deep significance. Warbonnets especially are reserved for respected figures of power. The other issue is that warbonnets are reserved for men in Native communities. In my opinion someones cultural dress shouldn't be present on a runway, what the point?

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25-01-2014
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But wouldn't fashion be completely boring and pointless if we weren't allowed to reference anyone's cultural attire or tradition? And with that, art as well?

In the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show where Karlie's outfit was deemed as offensive due to the headdress, Hilary Rhoda was clad as a leprauchaun, which is a sacred figure in Irish folklore. Is that not the same? Shouldn't we just accept that some things become embedded in global popular culture and lose any connotation of oppression, cultural robbery or deliberate offensiveness over a long course of time?

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25-01-2014
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I think it depends on the way it's portrayed, hopefully not as a cartoon and like Chanel claimed, as a way to celebrate their techniques, and aesthetic too.

The black girl bondage chair... I don't even know where to start, it seems like a terrible combination of different elements... putting aside for one minute the fact that Melgaard has made a career out of overlooking the importance of substance and the ability (hard work, yikes) to translate it into his work and instead literally vomits into his art what he absorbs from the world like a barbarian, saying nothing other than parading a cause he obviously lacks the sensibility to grasp, what Dasha doesn't know, and this I don't blame her because that's what happens when social climbing and status starvation needs more credentials and decides to "acquire" validity through the world of arts: just because it's a chair, it doesn't mean you have to sit on it.

Back to Native Americans, I definitely feel a major disconnect when people from Europe weigh on the topic, but then I feel that disconnect in most topics regarding discrimination, imperialism or exploitation... long-time issues. That said... I've never been to a Native American reservoir in the US or Canada but I've been to the ones in Mexico... and there's this thing with souvenirs that should warrant a topic of contradiction on its own and that's always made me question the focus on the use of symbolism, the overuse and constant accusation of "appropriation" and... pretty much an arrogance and contradiction I can't really come to terms with. At the end of the day, symbolism is merely a physical element for a ritual whose ultimate purpose is preservation and unity. It's not a green light to trash it, but they're certainly not connecting with the stars, you know...

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25-01-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anlabe32 View Post
I'm sorry, but I fail to see some of these as offensive. The Purple Magazine for example. Is it prohibited to recreate an image or scenery? Then all the movies about Indian's should be banned as well.
You don't see the problem with two white people recreating a scalping? Wow...
Let me put it in another context for you, what if it was two white people recreating a slavery lynching?

There's a way to tastefully depict historical tragedies in art and put them in a context that garners respect and sympathy from people, but when it's solely used to be controversial and shock in awe, like every editorial that's ever graced the pages of Purple Magazine, that's a completely different thing.

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25-01-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr-Dale View Post
In the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show where Karlie's outfit was deemed as offensive due to the headdress, Hilary Rhoda was clad as a leprauchaun, which is a sacred figure in Irish folklore. Is that not the same?
This is a terrible analogy not only because leprechauns are fictitious but because Native American women and the sexual assault crimes committed against them (that reach epidemic levels) are very real. Putting a white model in her underwear and a headdress is just ignorance.

Quote:
Shouldn't we just accept that some things become embedded in global popular culture and lose any connotation of oppression, cultural robbery or deliberate offensiveness over a long course of time?
No. The connotation is only lost on those who are not oppressed.

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25-01-2014
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I realize leprechauns are fictitious, I was only posing it as an example of another cultural reference which the poster above me pointed out should all never be present on any runway.

Then I'll be the first to admit that I am ignorant. I fail to see how that specific cultural symbol differs from the use of kimonos or what ever other cultural attire in fashion.

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