OPINION: Racism and discrimination in fashion
Photo courtesy of Gucci.
“Gucci gang” times seven. Words made famous by none other than, you guessed it, Lil Pump. But after the recent blackface scandal faced by designer brand Gucci, it’s best that everyone leaves the era of Gucci obsession back in 2018 where it belongs.
Gucci’s whopping $890 balaclava jumper, essentially a black turtleneck, prominently features a red cutout around the mouth that resembles the stereotypical overdrawn lips of blackface. What makes the situation worse is that the item was modeled by a white woman. Oh, should it be mentioned that this happened during black history month? Big yikes.
Tragically, however, this is not the first time the public has seen behavior like this. Ah yes, it is now time to bring back to light the infamous “coolest monkey in the jungle” graphic tee sold by H&M.
It all started when the very intelligent, diversified and insightful – catch the sarcasm yet? – heads of H&M decided it would be a good idea to create said graphic tee and have it be modeled by none other than ... wait for it, a black child. Just let that sink in. Surely, it would not take long for anyone reading this to realize the issue here.
However, in this case, the whole internet blew up with celebrities and people everywhere tweeting in disapproval of the scandal before H&M saw the error in their ways. Again, big yikes.
Today’s media has brought attention to another form of blackface, called “blackfishing.” Blackfishing, according to Urban Dictionary, is “commonly perpetrated by females of European descent (white) which involves artificial tanning (spray tanning and tanning booths) and using makeup to manipulate facial features in order to appear to have some type of Black African ancestry.” Well said, Urban.
For whatever reason, being “light skin” or just being black in general, really, seems to be a trend in both the digital and real world. As a dark skin black woman, let it be known to anyone who has or is considering blackfishing that skin color is not your trend to get more Instagram followers. Period.
Discrimination does not end there though, unfortunately. Aside from race, gender and body size have also faced much judgment in the fashion industry. Take Victoria’s Secret as an example. By now, it would seem that everyone has heard of the false statements made by the company’s Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek regarding transgender and plus-sized women. According to Razek, transgender and plus-sized women cannot sell the “fantasy” that is the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
Whether it be blackface, blackfishing, culturally insensitive, anti-LGBTQ+ or anti-body positivity, it all seriously just needs to stop. Imagine what the world would be like if we all accept one another and just be happy. But for now it’s time to do a closet cleanout, and Victoria’s Secret, Gucci and H&M have their names all over it.