WHY DOES THE BURDEN OF CREATING INCLUSIVITY IN FASHION FALL LARGELY ON MARGINALIZED GROUPS?
It seems that by the end of each fashion month (and for months beyond), the fashion industry is flooded with criticism surrounding cultural appropriation, lack of diversity and blatant racism — on and off the runway. One of the most recent examples (of many) is Gucci's $890 balaclava turtleneck, which was widely criticized for evoking blackface imagery. Following the backlash, the Italian label issued a public apology and met with renowned designer and Gucci partner Dapper Dan to develop long-term diversity and inclusion initiatives.
But for Black creatives, this most recent incident is just one instance of many in the long, tumultuous road toward creating spaces for themselves in an industry inundated with racism — a racism that's often only countered with weak attempts at diversity that look more like tokenism than authentic change.