Treading Fashion Pastures

It might be nice if schools of fashion were insulated from the culture so as to indulge in questionable tomfoolery on the runway with impunity, but it isn’t so. Every so often a mess is stepped in. Someone in charge must then wipe off their Ferragamos and exhibit contrition over unintended consequences, misperceived perceptions, intentions gone awry, etc.

Following an online outcry over the event, Joyce Brown, president of the Fashion Institute of Technology, said she recognized there was an “unfortunate and disturbing reaction to the use of exaggerated ears, lips and eyebrows… Regrettably, we failed in this instance to recognize a creative statement that could have negative consequences.”

This is the standard simulacrum of apology. It calls the reaction unfortunate and not the stimulus. “I’m sorry you’re upset by what I did” isn’t the same thing as being sorry for doing it.

A uniquely forthcoming apology was uttered by Jonathan Kyle Farmer, chair of the modern fine arts fashion design course which ran the show.

“… I now fully understand why this has happened… I take full responsibility and am committed to learning from this situation and taking steps to do better.”

(Oliver Milman, “New York fashion college apologizes for runway show criticised as ‘clearly racist’,” the, 2-20-20)

(c) 2020 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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4 Responses to Treading Fashion Pastures

  1. Eric Wayne says:

    Oh brother. Take a look at another model with giant white ears and bushier eyebrows:

    Clearly THAT one has nothing to do with black people. The only apology that should be happening is the ideologues behind crusade against the designer apologizing for slander and attempting to destroy someone’s career and reputation, as usual, over trivial crap.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JMN says:

      The voice missing for me in the little I’ve read is that of the designer. I would love to hear him/her/them talk about where this bizarre look comes from, what it’s for, where it leads — indeed any elucidation. We live in times where braying from all directions trumps talking things over.


      • Eric Wayne says:

        He has elucidated. He was going for outlandish and ugly features, which it’s up to racist individuals to associate unequivocally with any specific race, when clearly that combination of features applies to no single race this world has ever seen.

        Now, if I were someone in the fashion industry and could have counseled him, I would have told him NOT to go with that design because of the enormous potential for becoming a target of a witch hunt with phasers set on kill, not to mention that it’s just weird, tasteless, and doesn’t make any sense.

        I also agree with the model who refused to wear it. That’s her right, and especially if her wearing it inadvertently, but inevitably makes race and racism an unavoidable issue. The designer being oblivious, and being a racist are not the same thing.

        Note that when I first saw the image I wondered what weird fashion was coming out of Asia. I didn’t think it was racism against blacks. I didn’t connect the blow-up doll lips with black people, nor the oversized eyebrows or ears.

        The people screaming RACISM are not interested in an intelligent dialogue which would include the possibility that they are wrong, racists themselves, and acting like the reincarnation of the McCarthy anti-communist campaign, patting themselves on the back over their next victim.

        Look up the story I commented on with the sacking of news anchor Alastair Stewart for quoting Shakespeare in a tweet because it contained the notion of “his glassy essence – like an angry ape”. Meanwhile the guy who called RACISM RACISM RACISM has posted many anti-white-male tweets that are overtly racist.

        The problem isn’t both sides refusing to have a dialogue. What are the sides? Innocent people who unintentionally offended the out-to-be-offended-with-furious-wrath mob, who themselves deliberately offend with presumed impugnity (see anti-white male tweets by Martin Shapland), and demand blood sacrifice?

        People need to pull the stinking social justice wool from over their eyes and wake up from wokeness. There’s a whole history of rich ideas that predate the latest subjective and relative narrative, which hopes to overtake them all in a bid for power and supremacy.


  2. Eric Wayne says:

    After seeing your post, I learned about Alastair Stewart being sacked for quoting Shakespeare on Twitter, and, as it where, the quote including the word “ape”. Unfortunately, his debating rival was not only black, but openly anti-white male, and successfully led a crusade against the veteran news anchor. Score another point for identity politics versus culture:


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