“Great fashion writing doesn’t reduce everything to what is for sale, what’s hot and not. Great fashion writing looks at clothing and the uses of clothing with the same amount of cultural reverence we give a Lars von Trier movie or the U.S. Open, as something that exists, and it asks why it exists, and how it fits into its larger culture.”
Elsa Schiaparelli’s shoe hat of 1937-38 is the best known of the surrealist pieces made in collaboration with the artist Salvador Dali. The hat derived from a drawing by Dali, which in turn evolved from a 1933 photograph Gala Dali took of her husband wearing a woman’s shoe on his head and another on his right shoulder.
Schiaparelli created her most directly surrealist works with Dali. This includes, in addition to the shoe hat design, the whimsical ‘Tear’ dress and the skeleton dress, both dating from 1938.
There’s a lot of heat on Gap’s new campaign featuring Waris Ahluwalia, a Sikh Indian-American designer and actor. Social media is buzzing with positive reviews from those excited to see a Sikh portrayed in popular ads, and negative comments reducing his image to crass stereotypes. Showing support in the face of lewd comments and defaced physical ads, Gap made Waris’ photo their twitter cover; described ridiculously by the Huffington Post headline as an “Incredible Response From (the) Company.”
Wait, I mean— really?? We at Browntourage are all about diversity in media, and while this campaign is a step forward in recognizing positive visual representation of Brown people, it’s also ignoring some key stats about THE GAP. While preaching diversity in it’s ads, the company has exempted itself from financial responsibility toward safety in the factories it operates in Bangladesh. According to Daily Finance:
"On the heels of a garment factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 workers, many well-known companies signed the Bangladesh Factory Safety Accord to improve safety conditions for the employees of their suppliers there — companies such as PVH (PVH), which owns Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Izod; Swedish retailer H&M; Inditex, which owns Zara; and Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF).
Conspicuously absent from the list: Walmart (WMT) and Gap (GPS).
Turned off by the accord’s legally binding provisions, according to The Wall Street Journal, Walmart and Gap have essentially exempted themselves from the risk of having to pay penalties for failing to meet the accord’s commitments to protect worker safety.”
Although the company has agreed to an alternative, it means a cash advance to the factories- perhaps the thinnest bandaid ever.
So, while we praise one step forward in brown visibility, we mourn the thousands who remain invisible, working in unsafe factories (dying in them) while we wear our new Gap threads because the ads are *spicy* and the “epic” social media cover photo move was enough a show of solidarity to feel cozy inside.
Waris is a charming, cosmopolitan gentleman- and he is also not the face of change. Gap’s only response is that of Settings -> Change Background. No official statement has been released and I’m surprised to see so many reputable journalists applauding them for— continuing to advertise?
For true change, we can “vote with our dollars,” and choose companies that value practices you want to see more of in the world, and spread this message to provide alternative stories to the social media buzz. For true change, Gap could utilize the buzz around racist comments to educate their audience about prejudice and racism.
So, Gap, if you’re listening. Let’s build a bridge. Or perhaps build a little more stability in those factories of yours. According to the FAQ section of the Act, it’s never too late to sign!
I’m reblogging this for as much a criticism of Huffington Post’s brand of “journalism” as I am for the passionate calls for accountability. If major international brands want the heartwarming praise for having racially diverse models in their advertising campaign, they should also be held accountable for how their treat the workers in the global south who make their clothing in unsafe factories for criminally low wages.
Ah. So basically Naomi Campbell discussed how institutional racism impacts the fashion industry and the White male interviewer wanted it to be about her personal “anger” in incidents unrelated to fashion. Naomi Campbell discussed her passion about making the industry diverse and the White male interviewer wanted to parse “good” angry versus “bad” angry. Naomi Campbell discussed how there is a systemic issue in the industry and the White male interviewer wanted to discuss how Naomi herself, individually succeeded so doesn’t that exceptionalism prove that racism in the industry isn’t an issue? Ugh.
They literally are operating from different frames of thought; hers shaped by reality of what she sees and documents (with actual numbers in some instances) and his based on White male privilege and individualism fostered by both exceptionalism and stereotypes, which will never speak to systemic issues.
This interview is a microcosm of what it is like to confront White privilege, racism and White supremacy on any issue. Even those who want to “find out” more and may even compliment us often cannot think past their own privilege. One of the key problems involved in thinking shaped by White privilege is the role individualism plays, intellectually. To them, everything at worst falls under a negative stereotype and at best can be summarized by positive exceptionalism. NEITHER of these speak to institutional, structural and systemic issues of racism.
Oh and notice how she parsed racism here. As the act that the people who work for the designers engaged in, not whether or not the designers or their people are “racist.” This is important. Because Whites love to escape “racist” as a label. Okay, fine. Let’s talk about what they DID and SAID, and intent is irrelevant, as she mentioned they may not “know” what they did with their casting etc. Her own words reveal this the chasm between the way they think…
I’m not here to talk about me, I’m here to talk about balanced diversity.
I’m not angry. And I don’t like the thing of the ‘angry Black woman’ either; this is not what this is about.
We feel passionate. Feeling passion about something doesn’t mean you have to be angry.
Naomi = brilliant.
A+ commentary, both gradientlair’s and Naomi’s
“…I’m over people not explicitly acknowledging (racism in the fashion industry). Go on. Say it. Utter the word. You can do it. It’s scary; I get it – it’s scary because as a white dude naming a thing you (consciously or not) play part in perpetuating. You’re shooting yourself in the foot.”