I don’t think 2017 has been a very “look”-filled year. I have been compiling this post for the duration of the year and upon looking back, only a few of the looks that I initially selected stood out to me. In terms of the more recent ones, I love Kim Kardashian’s Tom Ford suit. I wish she wore things like this more often. The oversized style suits her well and I love a woman in a suit. I also loved the little matching two piece worn by Elsa Hosk at the VSFS After Party. A lot of the girls in attendance wore cute outfits there actually. I look forward to seeing how the red carpet evolves in 2018. There are already talks of all of the female actors wearing black to the Golden Globes in a form of protest so I am curious as to whether or not that happens. What was your favorite look in 2017?
Famous people get free shit. It has been that way for a long time. Nowadays, it has evolved from merely gifting (e.g. swag bags at events) to paying them to promote the product. The notion of fame has expanded too. Anyone with internet access can be famous now, which means that regular people with followers online are being paid large sums of money to talk about things. It seems that we all have a price and, in fact, are all just walking billboards. People are now more aware of this than before and take what they see and read online with a pinch of salt, so perhaps paid promotions will be less effective for brands than before (although I did read that FashionNova was one of the top Google searches of the year and they are known for paying influencers and celebrities to promote the brand).
The lesser discussed side of things is what happens to pieces that people are gifted. As an influencer, you receive PR packages from brands on a daily basis. I used to watch a Beauty YouTuber who would receive an entire collection from a brand and only actually like say 2 out of 30 shades of lipstick sent. The rest of the collection would either be hoarded or donated to women’s shelters. With beauty products, the resale market is small. Only the most collectible items can be sold, and only if they are unopened for sanitary reasons. If a YouTuber opens a product to swatch it, the value is gone. Fashion, on the other hand, is a booming resale market and shows no sign of slowing down.
Influencers are donated pieces, or buy them at a super steep discount (80-90% off), and sell them after they’ve worn them once or twice. After all, once they’ve posted it on their Instagram they have to get rid of it (or not rewear it publicly…). The same thing happens at fashion magazines: editors are gifted pieces for promotional consideration, whether they choose to write about them or not is up to them, and they can do whatever they want with the pieces afterwards. The sheer volume of stuff is why people sell it on and make some money in the process. I have sold items on Depop in the past. The app tends to focus on items with a lower price point, mainly vintage pieces that you could find in a thrift store (often what Depop sellers do, hauling items from Goodwill and comparable stores and selling them for a small profit) or gently worn fast-fashion pieces. You don’t tend to see too many brands on there. The sites that are used for selling designer pieces are TheRealReal, Tradesy, Vestiaire Collective, and sometimes eBay.
The ethics of selling things that you didn’t actually pay for are a little bit murky. On one hand, it is how many young editors in fashion sustain their lifestyles. On the other, you are profiting 100% off of things you did not purchase and are likely not declaring that income on your tax forms so it is pretty shady. Fashion editors tend to be on a very low salary yet seem to all be wearing designer pieces and living in New York City. Something’s gotta give.
Racked did a wonderful project, called The Swag Project, where they kept all of the pieces that the editors were given over a 6 month period and totaled its value, plus added a few articles digging deeper into the ethics behind it all. In the 6 months, the site received close to $100k worth of items for free yet only wrote about 3% of the products sent to them. The best article to come out of this project is an article entitled “The Secret Swag Resale Economy” which delves into the rife reselling that goes on at magazines. For example, a Conde Nast staffer initially felt guilty after selling a laser hair removal package that she was gifted and keeping the proceeds then quickly realized that that is just how things operate there. Much of the fashion industry runs on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, in all facets of the industry. I follow a YouTuber who was involved in a mini-scandal when a follower on Depop called her out for reselling an item gifted to her that was an exclusive piece not originally for sale. This happens all the time so it was interesting to see her response which was, of course, very defensive. Also interesting was the fact that fashion editors do this all the time and get no response. Perhaps it is just because it is less known or less public.
With the rise of social media, fashion editors have fast become celebrities with followings in their own right. It used to be that only the top tier of magazine editors were known, but now even a fashion assistant at a publication can garner a following in the tens of thousands. Of course, once you hit around 5000 followers on Instagram, the paid promotions come-a-knocking. The FTC has cracked down on paid promotions online though, releasing guidelines that say you must clearly state at the beginning of the caption that it is an ad. They have also been investigating people and issuing fines for influencers and celebrities who do not abide by the guidelines. Paid promotions in the fashion industry, however, are not as clear as #ad. Editors get free clothes, discounts, attend parties, get sent on trips, and have dinners. They often attend the same events as influencers who are vocal about their payment / partnership, but don’t post about them in the same way: Fashionista did a good post about the “tricky ethical territory” that editors verge into as a result of this. The discussion on this topic is promising because it means that consumer awareness is high. I don’t have a problem with people attending the events or reselling their free stuff, as long as people know that it is happening. Instagram tends to portray a false reality and people are often fooled into seeing the world in a way that simply does not exist. I would like to see that change and people be a lot more transparent about things.
“The Secret Swag Resale Economy” – Racked
Arguably the most interesting article in The Swag Project, this article delves deep into the practice of gifting at magazines and the ethical guidelines in which staff are told to follow.
The first article in The Swag Project with a lot of information on what was received and what happened to it all. Amazing infographics!
Further delves into the discussion started by Racked and mentions some key items that were suspected to be gifted to editors and influencers alike.
Last summer I found myself falling down the sustainability rabbit hole. I vowed to change my ways of consumption and be a more respectful consumer. I can 100% admit that I have failed. Here I will tell you exactly why. I know these are excuses (literally exactly what they are) but I know that there are other people in the same situation as me who came in with good intentions and have strayed.
1 – Sustainability can be expensive
The first thing that I thought I would do would be cut out fast fashion. I wouldn’t shop at Zara. I wouldn’t shop at H&M. I wouldn’t shop online in e-stores like Missguided and Pretty Little Thing. This lasted for about 6-8 weeks then I crumbled. Terrible, I know, but it’s really hard to not buy anything when you constantly want something new. The sustainability principle of buying less is very hard when you’re into fashion and want to keep up with the latest trends or even start your own. Quite often the only way to execute certain looks is by buying cheap pieces to get the aesthetic we desire. I want Gucci but I can’t afford it, so I buy the Zara alternative. Most of the time, the people who I have seen online preaching about sustainability and not shopping fast fashion are wealthy. Like go into Gucci and buy the fur slides for the hell of it wealthy. They aren’t living like regular college students are living.
2 – I suck at thrifting
On the other end of the spectrum, the people who talk about sustainability thrift exclusively. They buy used, secondhand clothes, shoes, accessories, regardless of the condition. They manage to find things that fit. I never do. In fact, I am perhaps the world’s worst thrifter. I rarely find anything that I find semi-passable. I’ve been to Goodwill, Buffalo Exchange, Housing Works, Beacon’s Closet (I do like that place), and 9 times out of 10 I leave empty-handed. Thrifting in New York is not what I expected it to be. I thought that it would be so easy and that I’d find cool things ever single weekend. What I have come to learn is that in order to get cool things you need to spend a lot of money. For example, I was at a store on Saint Marks a couple of weeks ago and I tried on the coolest hat you have ever seen. When I looked at the price tag it was $75. That’s insane for a secondhand, non-designer item. I have had similar experiences in other thrift stores where I have spotted cool items then been taken aback by the price. I’m not willing to spend more on an old, used, slightly roughed up item than I would on something new.
3 – I’m a college student
Living in New York is hard. Everything here is so damn expensive. When I began writing the Spend More, Buy Less posts I was working full-time. I had an income which meant I was able to buy more expensive clothes but now I can’t.
I do fully agree with a lot of the principles I spoke about in these posts and after going back and reading them again I want to start making a more conscious decision to keep an eye on my consumption again. In the meantime, here are some suggestions which I think could help towards reducing your individual footprint.
– Donate or recycle old clothes
Whether it be by literally taking the clothes to be recycled for textiles or recycling by someone else wearing them, don’t put your clothes in the trash and send them to a landfill because that is simply a waste. Not all clothing is biodegradable so it can sit in the landfill and pollute for years to come. Either donate clothes to a charity (in the US I’ve donated to Goodwill but in the UK there’s more of a selection), sell it back to a store in exchange for cash or store credit (either Beacon’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange would work), or give it to a friend. You could also try selling on Depop. It looks like Instagram but it’s shoppable.
– Build a capsule wardrobe
I know a capsule wardrobe sounds so dated but bear with me. Build up a collection of basics which you can mix and match on a daily basis and splurge on fun, trendy items every once in a while. If you have good jeans (black, grey, and maybe blue if you’re into that), various t-shirts in different cuts, silky cami tops, button downs, a couple of cute skirts, and a pair of black pants you can build lots of different outfits. Try making the look more exciting via your choice of outerwear or by adding accessories. I know that throughout the winter I dress boring as hell underneath my coat but because I always wear interesting outerwear or furry accessories I look pulled together.
I know that my current rate of consumption is unnecessary and I know that purchasing from fast fashion stores on the regular is not admirable so I would like to reign in my spending. However, I don’t like it when people are extremely judgmental of others for their consumption because you don’t know their personal circumstances. Also, lots of people remain ignorant of the issues at hand, often through no fault of their own. It’s definitely a personal journey and I think one that we have to make the decision to make on our own.
I have been reading a lot about fashion criticism and the role that it plays in the industry nowadays. Are critics important? Do they still have a voice? Do they even fit into the ever-changing world of fashion? Honestly, I have no idea. In my opinion, as long as there are people who care about more than clothes, but about the sociological and historical context of fashion, then critics are needed. If there’s nobody like that left, then they’re redundant. Thankfully, there’s still some people who care (even if it’s a shrinking group).
In the clickbait heavy world of fashion journalism critics are being overshadowed by shopping listicles and selfies. Most online publications would prefer to post 5 short articles filled with fluff that doesn’t really make a point or leave a memorable impact instead of 1 high quality review or in-depth story. Discussing fashion in an intellectual way is increasingly rare nowadays, but fortunately there are still some outlets which quench my thirst for this format. Quartz and Racked are two online publications that I’d recommend, along with all of the big newspapers for their critics (The Washington Post and Robin Givhan, The New York Times and Vanessa Friedman etc.).
The general consensus on why fashion criticism doesn’t matter as much anymore is that it has no impact on a business’ sales. Fashion designers don’t need critics on their side, they need the masses. Social media has let everybody become a critic by sharing their opinion online. You don’t need to be educated or informed to say your thoughts on a collection, but your voice does matter. Olivier Rousteing’s high at Balmain directly coincided with when the brand was at the height of fame on social media and was being posted by people across the globe. It didn’t matter that the critical reviews of the collection touched on the repetitive nature, as long as the public still liked it. Social media buzz doesn’t always translate into sales, but it certainly helps.
I think the more accurate reason why fashion criticism has fallen by the wayside is because people simply don’t want to read anymore. I know this for a fact. Even just by looking at “fashion” bloggers who have huge followings and infinite views, you can see that the content they post is more image-heavy instead of words. When online, people don’t want to be confronted with huge blocks of text, especially on a topic thought to be as trivial as fashion. I can even tell this with my own blog. I know it would be bigger in terms of numbers if I tried to just post outfit pictures and click-baity articles, but that wouldn’t be fun for me so I choose not to. The digital presence of major fashion publications gives weight to this theory. On Vogue.com, the average article is short (maybe three or four paragraphs) and has at least two images or tweets included. Most of them focus on gossip or shopping guides. The reason why is that people want to read this kind of thing. Writing is all about garnering the most traffic nowadays. If a publication can gain thousands of views on an article that took 30 minutes to write, why would they waste their time getting potentially less views on something that took multiple hours to fine tune and perfect? If a writer is freelance, the more stories they write, the more they get paid. Say the base rate for an article is $500. Would you rather write 2 articles in a day and make $1000 or 1 article in the same day and make half?
If fashion criticism were to become relevant once again, it would take a major change from readers in terms of their behavior. For one, we would all collectively have to reject all clickbait. This includes commenting on articles via social channels, which still contributes to their statistics. The more comments something has, the higher it gets pushed in people’s feeds, the more likely they are to click on it. If outlets started to see a major drop in engagement in their current preferred format then perhaps they would invest in long-form journalism and criticism. However, until then I am happy to support the few remaining critics who still have a platform.
For further reading on this topic:
“The Importance of Being Earnest” – Style Zeitgeist
“Kelly Cultrone: What Happened to All the Fashion Critics?” – The Fashion Spot (from 2014)
I still love Kanye West. I went through a phase last year where I refused to even think about him because he spoke out in support of Donald Trump. However, after those comments were made he had a bit of a breakdown and disappeared from the public eye. Since then he has periodically reemerged, taking care of his children and hanging out with his wife. He has also been holed up in Wyoming recording a new album. Whilst I don’t think it will be of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy caliber (nothing ever will be), I am excited to hear his new sounds and see what he does.
I have always been a fan of Kanye’s music but more so his style. He paved the way for the high-fashion sartorial choices made by hip-hop artists nowadays. He wore the Givenchy skirt (leather kilt, whatever) back in 2012 and faced ridicule. In 2016, Young Thug wore a dress for his album cover and got nothing but love and some memes. In honor of Kanye’s ever-changing but solid style, I decided to take a look back at my personal favorite looks of his. He goes through various eras style-wise, often related to the current album he is working on. Right now we are still very much in the Yeezy era which isn’t directly linked to an album (it started slightly before TLOP was released) but more so in relation to the Yeezy line he designs for Adidas. Yeezy is now a minimalist lifestyle philosophy for Kanye. It will be interesting to see the next step in his evolution. Will he go for some more maximalist styles going forward?
I just wanted to share an article which I contributed to Set My Soul Online, a digital magazine published in New York City. The theme of the November issue was American Beauty with a focus on diversity, in response to the narrowing ideals presented by the current administration. I chose to tackle the idea of how the fashion industry has responded to the election of Donald Trump and what they have done to combat Trumpism. Read the article here and check out the full magazine at setmysoulonline.com
For this week’s edition of Weekly Words, I read through various articles on the internet about fashion and related topics and struggled to find anything that I could really share my opinion on, or even add to the conversation. The fallout from the Harvey Weinstein scandal has dominated the news cycle, and his involvement in the fashion industry and how that crossover works has emerged and is deeper than initially expected. Furthermore, the sexual assault / harrassment issues in Hollywood have permeated the fashion industry. Model and activist Cameron Russell started a hashtag on Instagram (#myjobshouldnotincludeabuse) where she shared stories of sexual abuse experienced by models, gathered through DMs which she kept anonymous. It seems like the floodgates have opened and the entertainment industry (fashion now included) cannot ignore it anymore. Check out Cameron Russell’s Instagram to read the stories in full. All are horrific, with many including underage models. Now non-famous people have gotten involved with #metoo being used to share stories of sexual assault. As the internet has been a dark and depressing place recently, I decided to try to keep this post a little more lighthearted (as some escapism almost).
Somehow I stumbled across this article from W Magazine’s archive this week and I’m so glad I did. Basically it is just Naomi Campbell’s diary from her time doing community service. She shares her experience with the Sanitation Department, the people she encountered, what she actually did, and explains the logic behind wearing the insane outfits that she wore. The supermodel’s community service week became a media sensation and it is hilarious reading about it now, ten years later, because it all just seems so ludacris.
Alexander Fury is my favorite fashion writer of all time. He has such a deep love for fashion, the whimsical nature of it, and the craft behind the clothing. This adoration manages to seep into his work, especially when he is writing a piece about somebody who he admires. His interview with Azzedine Alaia, friend of the aforementioned Naomi Campbell and one of the most revered fashion designers of all time (anyone who loves fashion loves Alaia, I promise), was truly heartwarming and it is a great profile of the designer who is famously media-shy. An Alaia show has no external photographers (he employs his own) and doesn’t stick to the traditional show schedule for the seasons. He makes couture-level pieces but doesn’t call them couture; Alaia refused to join the official couture group of France since the 1980s and shows no signs of succumbing now. It was just lovely to read a piece full of genuine admiration and respect for somebody who is truly a great artist. Everybody should know a little more about Azzedine Alaia so I encourage you to read this beautifully written interview!
“Where ‘Hitler’ Doesn’t Mean Anything” – The Outline
This piece was just strange because it was so absurd. Apparently they have no idea who Adolf Hitler is in Pakistan. The ignorance runs so deep that one of the most popular menswear lines in the country is named after one of the most deadly dictators in modern history. The thought of seeing storefronts with Hitler on the sign is certainly a jarring image. What’s more crazy is that when the writer asked people in Pakistan what they thought Hitler meant they said that all they knew was that he was an army general who was very disciplined. That’s it. Wow. You need to read the piece because it is really fascinating.
Vanessa Friedman wrote an interesting essay for The New York Times about fashion and the culture of gossip that has permeated the industry in an unmistakeable way. Friedman argues that because everybody spent so much time gossiping throughout fashion month rumors were started that were likely false (some widely, obviously unsubstantiated) and people failed to pay attention to the clothes. If a designer produced a good, almost daring collection, it was “a final collection”. People assumed that if a designer took a risk, they were on their way out. People speculated that designers were getting fired, that they were unhappy in their jobs, that they were being replaced by another big name – all for no reason.
Friedman argues that the reason for the surge in gossip is the ever-changing creative direction of brands. Started by Alexander Wang at Balenciaga, a three-year tenure tends to be the standard for designers at a brand. Raf Simons lasted for just over three years at Dior, too. It is not like the past where designers would stay at the helm of a brand for decades, like Karl Lagerfeld at both Chanel and Fendi. Riccardo Tisci, who spent twelve years at Givenchy, was rumoured to be headed to Versace. Those rumours were eventually squashed, now to have been replaced by rumours that Kim Jones of Louis Vuitton menswear is headed there. The hysteria over who is going where, and who is staying put, has overshadowed the actual creations in many instances, with designer debuts happening each season.
However, this gossip culture isn’t totally unfamiliar given that, as a society, we thrive off of gossip. It is like a poison that we keep going back to – the forbidden fruit. Anytime a celebrity does anything, there is a news article about it. We are people who like to know every little detail of a person’s life. If a celebrity posts something mildly cryptic on social media, there will be numerous fan-accounts dissecting the meaning, plus a DailyMail article (featured on Snapchat for maximum exposure, of course) recapping it all. Think of all of the controversy surrounding the alleged Kardashian-Jenner pregnancies – only one of three have been confirmed, yet every outlet is on bump watch, closely monitoring each sister’s goings-on. To think that the fashion industry has been polluted with the same poison makes a lot of sense.
I particularly liked Friedman’s analysis of why fashion may just be lacking that little something nowadays. She says it is because, paraphrased, that designers, due to their lack of commitment to the brand they are working at, have a lack of commitment to “vision”. Everything is just temporary. Brand codes aren’t getting made and long-term impact has been traded in for a short-term boost via social media impressions. This makes it harder for anybody to be invested in the brand, whether that be department store buyers who are choosing where to spend their open-to-buy each season (Is it worth investing heavily in a line that may go a completely different direction the next season, thus confusing their customers?), shoppers choosing where to spend their money (Are buzzy items really worth it? Often, no.), and the actual staff who work for the company, from the corporate side of things like the merchandisers and the sales team all the way down to the people who work on the design side of things in the ateliers. It must be hard to be heavily invested in your job and the company’s vision just to have it change again and again. That’s why after a designer leaves a brand, often many of the staff do too. The commitment isn’t to the brand itself but to the designer. The loyalty lies with the person, not the corporation that pays the bills. When Alber Elbaz was fired from Lanvin, the team was angry and disappointed. Having an unhappy workforce can’t be a productive environment.
All of this links back to the increasing pace of the fashion industry. Things are going at an unsustainable speed. People are getting burned out earlier than before. Too many people are quitting whilst they can. Furthermore, the fashion cycle is going quicker meaning that designers have to innovate season-upon-season (which have gotten closer and closer together) meaning that there is no time to conceptualize new ideas and build a real brand. The pace of fashion is killing creativity which in turn is leading to boredom. And do you know what bored people do? They gossip.
Khloe Kardashian’s denim line “Good American” had the most successful launch in history. Since then, the brand has gone from strength to strength, introducing new product lines and receiving distribution in department stores across America. However, the feedback for the brand has not always been positive. The brand has been marred by claims of copying smaller designers, asking for samples of their products then replicating it almost to the stitch and then selling it on their site, reaping all of the products and leaving the smaller, indie designers out of pocket and out of luck. Fortunately, we are in the age of social media which means an unknown can get attention the same way that a celebrity does. Using her Instagram account, Destiney Bleu managed to draw attention to the fact that Good American stole her designs for a line of bejewelled bodysuits. Bleu was later sent a cease-and-desist letter from Good American’s lawyers and the case seems to have stalled since. Another brand which claimed Good American copied their designs is Made Gold, a smaller, indie denim line worn by the likes of Bella Hadid and even Kylie Jenner. A famous style of theirs with laces up the side of the legs was worn by the aforementioned stars before Good American apparently copied it. Instead of using social media, the founder of Made Gold chose to confront the situation directly, using a Q&A section at the Fashion Tech Forum in LA to voice her concerns. Emma Grede, Khloe Kardashian’s founding partner of Good American, instead dodged the question and the panel session ended. Unsurprisingly so, Good American chose to ignore the allegations and act like nothing happened. I think this is a poor strategy. We all know that fashion is an industry that thrives off of copycats: high-end designers copy each other, contemporary designers copy the high-end, and fast-fashion copies them all. By ignoring this process, Grede and Good American made themselves look, once again, untrustworthy and any designers who send their samples to Khloe Kardashian again risks the same copy-cat treatment. Spout off a false line about being influenced by “girls on the street, girls on social media”, whatever. Just don’t ignore it all together.
Following Donatella Versace’s triumphant fashion week tribute to her late brother, Gianni Versace, which was influenced by vintage styles that he designed ranging throughout the 1980s into the early 90s, Versace-mania is back in full-flow. The brand is at the buzziest it has been in years. Smartly so, FarFetch have teamed up with William Vintage, a London-based boutique, to offer a range of archival Versace pieces for sale on their site. Many designs are almost identical to the ones that walked down the runway a couple of weeks ago, but they have the edge given that they are the real, original pieces. FarFetch’s business model is interesting. Their concept is that, instead of having their own inventory and placing a seasonal buy like other e-commerce sites do, they partner with small boutiques around the world, facilitating the distribution of the products and allowing the boutiques to reach a global market that they may not be exposed to if they tried to do it alone. FarFetch, of course, keeps a cut of the profits. I love the company and the whole idea of it, and I truly believe it is one of the most innovative companies in fashion. As for the Versace collection, there are some pretty to-die-for pieces in there – matching skirt suits, leopard printed jackets and leggings, belts and brooches, and baroque prints. The prices are very steep but what you are paying for is a piece of fashion history. I hope one day to build up my own archive of vintage designer pieces, as collectors items, not for wearing. I urge you to check out the edit – here on FarFetch.
Harvey Weinstein, notorious Hollywood producer and noted sleaze, has been hit with a serious of allegations of sexual assault and indecent exposure dating back decades. The New York Times published a damning exposé of the movie mogul last week and Weinstein has been on damage control mode ever since. The New Yorker followed up with a similar piece, filled with new damning revelations on Tuesday this week. Each publication got statements from women, some anonymous but some on-the-record detailing the gross misconduct of Weinstein over the decades. Subsequently, Weinstein was fired from his own company last weekend, after initially suggesting he would take a “leave of absence” to seek therapy and counseling. Judging by the fact that this behavior has been occurring for decades and Weinstein has continued to abuse his position of power to get what he wanted from people and used it to force people into silence, I somehow believe that counseling won’t do the trick and that this is perhaps just a line to keep people quiet. Weinstein’s connection to the fashion industry comes in the form of his soon-to-be-ex-wife, Georgina Chapman, the co-founder of red-carpet label Marchesa. Despite Weinstein’s lack of professional ties to the company, the brand seems to be collateral damage, marred by the fall-out of the scandal. One can’t help but wonder how many stars wore Marchesa to their premieres just because Weinstein coaxed them to do so. How many stylists does he have a “relationship” with that encourages them to dress their clients in the brand? Furthermore, Weinstein has a lot of friends in the fashion industry, through his wife, who likely knew or at least had an inkling about the kind of man he was and the behavior that he subjected those around him to. One wonders how long this cover-up has gone on for.
The Hollywood Reporter’s coverage of the events surrounding this scandal has been my go-to source as they have information from all sides of the story: the legal side, the movie & Hollywood side, and the fashion side. In an article entitled “Harvey Weinstein puts wife’s Marchesa fashion brand in a tough spot“, THR examines the impact of the scandal on Marchesa, the hugely successful eveningwear (and bridal) line designed by Chapman and her business partner Keren Craig. The label was already beginning to draw criticism for their presentation at Bridal Fashion Week, with one commenter mentioning the link between Chapman profiting off women whilst her husband sexually assaults them. Weinstein’s connection to the fashion industry goes further than just his wife’s brand though. He has served as executive producer on Project Runway, the fashion-design focused competition where his wife has served as a guest judge on numerous occasions. According to the same article, Weinstein’s name has been removed from the credits of the next episode. He is also close friends with Anna Wintour, yet to comment on the allegations, who has helped him set-up a variety of business deals and has hosted events with the mogul. In terms of fashion business ventures, he tried to revive the Halston label in 2007 (with family friend Rachel Zoe as one of the creative consultants) and he bought the Charles James name, known best for the Met Gala exhibition about America’s first couturier.
Weinstein’s close relationships with those in the fashion industry, plus his business interests, make this an interesting connection between what could’ve been a solely Hollywood scandal and one that has now crossed over to a whole new industry (not to mention politics, given that Weinstein is a firm Democrat who has donated millions of dollars to various campaigns for the likes of Hillary Clinton). Disappointingly, few people have spoken out against Weinstein. Donna Karan made a huge PR misstep (and exposed a real personal flaw) when she spoke out in support of Weinstein, citing the way women dress and reinforcing rape culture in one little statement. Her statement, made during a red carpet appearance last Sunday, effectively blamed the victims of Weinstein’s assault because of the way they were dressed, saying “How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality? And what are we throwing out to our children today about how to dance and how to perform and what to wear? How much should they show?”. Karan received backlash for her comments almost instantaneously from the likes of Rose McGowan (who has been alluding to Weinstein’s behavior for years now) and chef Anthony Bourdain, plus the scorn of the entire internet. The following day, Karan said that her statements had been taken out of context and that they were not intended in that manner. Unfortunately, this apology fell flat, in my opinion, because her initial thoughts on the matter were expressed clearly. Both her initial statement and her apology have been written about in more detail on The Hollywood Reporter, which I will link below. I spotted a few people saying that they should boycott Donna Karan products but this is counterproductive given that she sold her company a few years ago and has no part of the business anymore. Regardless of what people want to do, expressing scorn for Karan’s statement seems like the right idea. Going forward, it will be interesting to see if any more figures in the fashion industry comment on the Weinstein situation.
From what we all know now, Harvey Weinstein has committed some disgusting and unforgivable crimes since her ascent into power, spanning over at least three decades. Not only have these acts taken place, but they have been ignored. Hollywood has taken part in a long-term cover-up, on the lowest level by Miramax employees and all the way up to A-list stars like Matt Damon and Russell Crowe (who were accused of having a story nixed back in 2004). From what has been reported, people have known about Weinstein’s behavior for a long time and have chosen to ignore it for the sake of their careers or fear of legal action from Weinstein’s cutthroat defense team. On top of all of this, many people have benefitted from Weinstein over the years, whether that be in terms of monetary compensation, movie roles, or exposure. His wife apparently knew of his behavior but his connections helped her grow her business, getting it worn by A-listers the year of its launch. I wonder how many other people stayed quiet for similar reasons?
Further (required) reading