Campaigners Call Out Italian Fashion Brands For Racism

Grace Pickford reports on the campaign by black fashion designers calling out large Italian Fashion Brands for not dealing proactively with the #BLM movement. 

Fashion designers Stella Jean and Edward Buchanan have written a  letter asking Italian fashion labels to move beyond gestures of support for the Black Lives Matter Movement and to start taking the appropriate actions

The letter titled “Do #BLM in Italian fashion?” was written in response to no black-owned fashion brands being shown during the virtual Milan Fashion Week that took place earlier this month. The campaign is to raise awareness around gestured support for the #BLM movement instead of investing resources and time into education and monitoring change. Jean and Buchanan also stated that if more black people were in senior positions, problems could be avoided.

“Many of the mishaps and racially insensitive conversations that have happened in Italy are clearly due to companies not including black people internally from entry-level to executive positions.”

The labels that have been called upon to commit to making real change include Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, and Prada. Some of the larger fashion houses of Italy have a history with racist imagery, such as a black balaclava-style polo neck released by Gucci which cost just under $900 and had to be withdrawn due to blackface allegations, as well as Prada having golliwog figurines in their stores, which were also withdrawn. 

Another incident took place earlier this week as Marni faced backlash for its “jungle mood” SS20 collection. Marni commented: “As we endeavor to create a more equitable world… we sincerely regret that our efforts cause further pain.”

Jean and Buchanan say they hope that changes will be made before the next Milan fashion week in September and that Italian fashion will begin to “acknowledge” and “dismantle” racism within the fashion industry. 

Image via Unsplash

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