LA CIVETTA April 2019 - Page 44

Following Trump’s inauguration in 2017, D&G have dressed the first lady on more than one occasion, which is not problematic in and of itself; the fact is that everyone has to be dressed by someone and designers usually remain politically impartial while doing so. Melania Trump was dressed in a beautiful pastel blue number by Ralph Lauren on inauguration but the designer in no way indicated any kind of affiliation politically.

What was seen to be so controversial was the way in which the pair reacted to criticism for dressing such a polarising figure. They chose to actively endorse Ms. Trump on Instagram to defend themselves, further implicating themselves in the political situation and therefore garnering even more criticism.

Then, at the end of 2018, D&G had to cancel a show in shanghai after an advert posted on the brand’s Instagram was deemed racist as it showed a Chinese model struggling to eat Italian food with chopsticks. The post was pulled, but the opiniated designers refused to keep mum, with Gabbana calling the Chinese “Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia” in a further interaction on Instagram following the incident.

Gucci’s creative director – in other words the brand’s head honcho – has also been criticised recently for designing a jumper which evidently caricatured African facial features.

Upon release just in time for Black History Month, pictures of the jumper were pulled from social media as well as from the Gucci website and twitter erupted in protest to the design, with one user suggesting the house “Get Black designers working for [them] if [they] can’t recognise things like this.”

What is undeniably important in these situations is accountability. Huge fashion brands like these have so much power and clout that they land themselves in these controversies yet continue to earn money for what they do as it is so much easier to ignore than to stop.

As such, these designers continue to think that things like this are acceptable, and by extension their consumer base is allowed to think the same and this is simply not okay.

We must begin to make problematic designers with so much influence understand that their actions have consequences and let them know that it is no longer acceptable when, today, these actions are seen by us all.


By Oli BrIckNELL