In the News, Issue 11, October 1, 2021
Twice a month, we bring you a curated news report that addresses some of the most critical and timely headlines as it relates to fashion and race.
NOTE: This is an abridged version of our full “In the News” issue. To read the full stories and view all of the images, continue on at our website.
In Issue 11 of In the News, we examine issues within the new Costume Institute exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, review the state of diversity in the fashion industry from the perspective of Black creatives, and consider critiques of Diet Prada’s role in call-out culture.
– Anu Lingala, Contributor, “In the News”
Design & Imagemaking
While the Met Gala spurred much drama and discussion, somewhat less attention has been paid to the exhibition at its center – “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” The show was designed with the intention to celebrate the diversity of perspectives in American design, and aimed to spotlight emerging young designers. But its success in doing so is debatable. In a recent feature for The Cut, Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz critically explores the exhibit’s curation of inclusivity, focusing on the experience of the only Indiginous designer to be included. Korina Emmerich is the Puyallup and Nisqually designer whose skirt and coat ensemble is presented in the exhibit as a sole representation of Indigenous fashion. Emmerich expresses that she was unaware that she would be the only Indigenous designer included and was “devastated” to learn this, noting, “I’m half-white and urban — I didn’t grow up on the reservation. I know I’m more palatable in situations like this. But there are people who have been doing couture for a lot longer than I have, celebrated elders in our community.”
Furthermore, Emmerich questioned the piece chosen by the curators to be featured, and its contextual placement in the exhibition…
Learn more about Korina Emmerich’s story and her work in fashion.
In Jessica R. Metcalfe’s article, the long-established designs of Indigenous fashion are discussed.
Read the full story and find the other headlines within “Design & Imagemaking” that are on our radar.
Business & Retail
Reviewing the state of diversity in the industry, Business of Fashion shines a light on the frustrations of Black creatives who feel that progress has stalled since last year’s push forward. Considering statistics from earlier this year, the article points out that The Fashion Spot’s diversity report found that at New York’s February 2021 fashion shows, 50.7% of models were BIPOC – a significant decrease from 57.1% from the shows that took place in September 2020.
And although there are more Black designers showing at Fashion Week than ever before, those in the industry believe it’s important to keep in mind that this is only a starting point and not the end goal. Many feel like diversity and inclusion is being treated like a trend or marketing tactic…
Read more about diversity and inclusion being treated like a trend in Zari Alyssa Taylor’s essay discussing performative allyship.
Attain deeper knowledge on how the fashion industry can go beyond surface-level anti-racism work, as told by Tamu McPherson.
Learn more about the fashion industry’s responsibility to have lasting effects in their inclusivity efforts in “The Problem with All-Black Castings.”
Read the full story and find the other headlines within “Business & Retail” that are on our radar.
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Over the last decade, the rise of call-out culture has brought the once-niche concept of dress politics to the forefront, with terms like ‘cultural appropriation’ moving from the realms of academic into the mainstream. The Instagram account Diet Prada – with nearly 3 million followers – is often cited as one of the key leaders of this movement, simultaneously loved and hated for their sharp takes on fashion copycats and problematic ventures. Founded by Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler, the platform was one of the most confrontational and real-time voices in calling out and canceling Dolce & Gabbana when they released a racist advertisement in 2018 that mocked Chinese culture. Going beyond Diet Prada’s typical posts, the episode devolved into back-and-forth direct message chats sent from the account of the brand’s cofounder, Stefano Gabbana, which included many racist and hateful comments. The resulting negative publicity had a major detrimental impact on the brand and its image. Soon after, Dolce & Gabbana filed a lawsuit for defamation, claiming damages now totalling at nearly $700 million.
While the lawsuit has been pending for the past two years, an article published by Vanity Fair this month examines the controversy and how it may be influenced by evolving attitudes towards Diet Prada…
15 Percent Pledge is an organization that supplies its “call-outs” with solutions.
For a perspective on fashion criticism provided by Black fashion critics on social media, read Bianca Betancourt’s article.
Read the full story and find the other headlines within “Dress Politics” that are on our radar.
In the News is researched and written by Anu Lingala and edited by Anthony Palliparambil, Jr. and Kimberly Jenkins. This newsletter is published by Daniela Hernandez.
Anu Lingala is a trend forecaster, brand strategist, and founder of Revisionary: a space dedicated to reframing our aesthetic vision and decolonizing our aspirations by centering BIPOC-owned brands. She also helped launch Public Service: a platform and creative studio working to advance equity in imagemaking. Anu has always been passionate about applying sociocultural and historical analysis to contemporary industry contexts. She holds a BS in Apparel Design from Cornell University and an MA in History of Design from the Royal College of Art, where her dissertation examined cultural appropriation in fashion.