News

Luxury fashion challenged to confront racist attitudes

When luxury fashion lined up social media posts to show solidarity with Black Lives Matters protests, brands got a whole lot of blowback.

Transgender model and actress Munroe Bergdorf jumped on L’Oreal’s #BlackoutTuesday posts to accuse the beauty brand of hypocrisy for having fired her three years ago when she complained about racism in strong language. U.S. actor Tommy Dorfman, who appears in a recent campaign for Salvatore Ferragamo, called out the Italian luxury brand for what he called a ’’homophobic and racist work environment.”

And ordinary Instagram followers piled on, challenging fashion houses to do more than post a black square on their virtual real estate, to instead make runways, magazine covers, boardrooms and creative studios living showcases of diversity.

1 of 7In this photo taken on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, American content creator Tamu McPherson sits on the sofa at her home in Milan, Italy. The U.S protests against systemic racism, which are spreading around the globe, are now putting the spotlight on the fashion world in its role as a cultural beacon, and emboldening insiders — some with lucrative deals that often assume their discretion — to speak up. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

MILAN (AP) — When luxury fashion lined up social media posts to show solidarity with Black Lives Matters protests, brands got a whole lot of blowback.

Transgender model and actress Munroe Bergdorf jumped on L’Oreal’s #BlackoutTuesday posts to accuse the beauty brand of hypocrisy for having fired her three years ago when she complained about racism in strong language. U.S. actor Tommy Dorfman, who appears in a recent campaign for Salvatore Ferragamo, called out the Italian luxury brand for what he called a ’’homophobic and racist work environment.”

And ordinary Instagram followers piled on, challenging fashion houses to do more than post a black square on their virtual real estate, to instead make runways, magazine covers, boardrooms and creative studios living showcases of diversity.ADVERTISEMENT

Global fashion brands have faced racial backlashes in the past, notably in the wake of scandals like the Gucci knitwear recalling blackface, Prada’s Little Black Sambo bag charm and Dolce&Gabbana’s anti-Asian comments.

The U.S protests against systemic racism, which are spreading around the globe, are also putting the spotlight on the fashion world in its role as a cultural beacon, and emboldening insiders — some with lucrative deals that often assume their discretion — to speak up.

‘’People have the fire under their bottoms,” said Tamu McPherson, an American content creator based in Milan who collaborates with top luxury brands. “Their stories are strong and their voices are being heard. If they industry ignores them, they can be kept accountable. Everyone is sharing, and corroborating, their stories.’’

McPherson has been working with luxury brands in Milan, Paris and New York since 2013, contributing to digital campaigns, story-telling and in-house diversity training.

’’In seven years, I am still one of the only black people invited into those spaces. That is unacceptable,” said McPherson, who urged greater racial inclusion in a letter posted June 6 on her ‘’All the Pretty Birds’’ website, in which she described the fashion industry as ’’steeped in racism, anti-Blackness and white privilege.″

MORE

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s