Issues in the Fashion Industry; A Dive into the Appropriation of Minority Groups

Fashion = culture, “Meaning, fashion influences our lifestyle. Fashion is influenced by cultural changes, such as modernization, art, and even technological innovation”

As the BLM movement began to pick up traction in the last few years, it has come to light that many of the pieces of clothing we deem fashionable and in style were actually stolen from black culture. This has been an issue since the begging of the fashion industry, however, because of the current political climate there is far more information surrounding stolen black culture within fashion. “We must remember that the fashion industry is built on the subjugation of black and brown bodies” 

“Most recently, big names like Stephen Gan, editor of V Magazine, have been called out by industry watchdog Diet Prada for deeply culturally insensitive costumes and racism in the workplace”

Gucci's blackface design controversy is about racism, not ignorance.

This is a major issue within the fashion world because of the inequalities and discrimination that people of color face. So what is the solution to this issue?? Well, it’s very complex and there isn’t one “best” case scenario or solution for that matter. In my personal opinion, I would hold fashion designers and artists accountable. Cancel culture may be overdone and not ideal but when it comes to blatant racist offenses, I believe the canceling of a brand for a short time is beneficial until they can show that they have educated themselves and changed. I also believe that a formal apology should be made to the public and the designer they stole from. And lastly, I think donations should be made by the company to organizations that aid people of color. There is no single solution however these are some of the best possible ways the remedy the damage fashion designers have inflicted on the black community. 

Fashion college probes runway show criticized as racist, compared to  blackface | Fashion Trends - Hindustan Times

For today’s post, I wanted to incorporate an interview of my friend Jeremy (23-year-old, male, he/him) who has little to no knowledge of how the fashion industry runs. I asked him a few open-ended questions regarding what he thinks/knows about appropriation in fashion. 

Q: What knowledge do you have regarding appropriation in the fashion industry?

A: okay so I don’t know much about trends and what’s in style let alone how that industry appropriates cultures. I must say it doesn’t sound too good and seems like a problem that needs fixing, someone’s culture is not your style or trend to have, it’s literally their livelihood. 

Q: So, you don’t know much about appropriation in fashion, but have you heard of black facing in fashion?

A: To be completely honest I knew black face was a thing that people did but for some reason I didn’t expect the fashion realm to incorporate blackface into their “trends”. That’s just horrible they do that I cannot believe that designer would use cultural significance, blackface, and artifacts to sell clothing it really is quite disgraceful. 

Q: Now that I have educated you a bit on the issues surrounding fashion, what changes do you think need to be made in order to find a solution for this?

A: As for solutions hmm that’s a tough one, well for starters I’d say we first have to get those items off the market and then definitely hold the designer accountable while also educating them. Holding someone accountable is pointless if they don’t know what they did wrong, so I’d say education is super important in this case.

Black Instagram influencers call out 'blackfishing' white women for racial  appropriation


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