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 guardian.com, 2-20-20)
(c) 2020 JMN