Racism in Fashion (This Isn't New)
For years we have seen a lack of diversity in Luxury fashion brands and the fashion industry overall. Runways have been white washed, and our culture stolen and sold back to us. From cornrows to "boxer braids" and now this.
Gucci, Prada, Moncler, Patricia Field, Burberry, and Katy Perry all deemed it appropriate to degrade African Americans by creating products clearly reminiscent of Jim Crows Blackface.
Historically speaking (according to the National Museum of African American History and Culture)
Blackface became an epidemic in the 1830's when the first minstrel show began. White actors would dress as characters wearing ripped/ tattered clothes and shoes, appearing dirty and unwashed with exaggerated features such as red or white over drawn lips and black face paint.
In these shows African Americans where portrayed as lazy, ignorant, superstitious, hyper sexual, and thief's.
Black face was also used to keep African American actors off screen and out of work. Studios and production companies preferred to pay white actors to dress in blackface rather than hiring an African American.
Excuse my stupid question but with all of this information readily available HOW DO YOU STILL PRODUCE OFFENSIVE PRODUCT?
Gucci's creative director Alessandro Michale in a poor attempt at an apology stated to employees, "The fact that, contrarily to my intentions that turtleneck jumper invoked a racist imagery causes me the greatest grief" (reported by Women's Wear Daily). Michale later stated that the design was a tribute to Leigh Bowery, an Australian performance artist. I call BS.
With the current climate of world affairs and the blatant disregard for people of color as a "big" brand it is your job to be hyper aware of history and the way your designs are perceived to the public. I also question why these brands "just so happen" to release these designs back to back, as if a strategic plan had been put in place to further assault African Americans.
As an African American I'm enraged.
As a Designer I'm Disgusted.