Fashion gaffes are a reflection of the industry’s diversity problem

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Last month, fashion house Chanel appointed its first head of diversity and inclusion. Announcing the hire, the French brand said it hoped to provide “momentum” for its “existing diversity and inclusion approach.”
The move marked Chanel’s entry into a new race in the world of luxury fashion: the race to hire more diverse talents, and thus lessen the chance of becoming the latest brand to alienate potential customers with racially or culturally insensitive gaffes.
About two weeks later, Gucci then appointed a new global head of diversity, equity and inclusion in order to “create a more inclusive and equitable workplace and increase workforce diversity.” Prada and Burberry, too, have created a similar position in recent months.
These announcements all appear to be part of the fashion industry’s response to accusations that it’s out of touch with customers and society at large.
In the past year alone, Gucci has come under fire for retailing a $790 turban, a garment with religious significance for Sikhs; Dolce & Gabbana was accused of racism after it portrayed a Chinese model attempting to eat Italian food with chopsticks; and Burberry was accused of glamorizing suicide after it presented a hoodie featuring an elaborate knotted drawstring that resembled a noose. Meanwhile, Prada merchandise and Katy Perry shoeshave both blithely referenced blackface caricatures. (read more)

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