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  • Writer's pictureThe Black Fashion Beauty

Should You Support Luxury Fashion Brands with Racist Tendencies? Consider This...

luxury fashion storefront with red heels on street

Hey, Beauties! We know that luxury fashion is all about exclusivity; unfortunately, we also know that many people in low and high positions at some of these brands are...racist. So, how do you decide what brands and designers to support? The answer lies within you, but I have a couple of things you can consider as you make your decision.

There are Racists Across Industries, and They're Typically Covert

Let's cut to the chase----many businesses across industries have racist people somewhere along the supply chain whether you realize it or not. Ignorance isn't bliss, in this case. The owner of your favorite boutique in town could hate you and your ancestors...and you'd never know. If you knew how they truly felt, you might take your business elsewhere. Here's where covert racism comes into play: people become experts at hiding their hatred, especially when their career, money, or reputation is at stake.

Now, does this mean that you should excuse a designer's ignorant comments or actions? No, you don't have to. What I'm saying is, don't be surprised if your favorite designers you never thought were problematic do something problematic. The reality is, they may be just as racist as the owner of the hole-in-the-wall pizza place you frequent.

Diversity Is Progressive, But Is It Enough?

Eh, potentially. Many believe it's best to infiltrate from within, but many others believe it's time to dismantle some of these luxury fashion companies completely and make room for more luxury fashion houses with designers of color.

One big issue with "diversity" is that some brands will become more diverse...for roles in lower or surface-level positions. Sure, a brand can feature a more inclusive runway show or campaign and that's great, but that's where it ends. Sometimes, the facade of an inclusive runway isn't what it's cracked up to be.

"We really need people of colour in the business. (We’re) so few and far between and it does not make sense to me that it is still an issue today. There are not enough black people behind the scenes; I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black person in production." -Debra Shaw, Dazed Digital.

In an interview conducted by British-Nigerian designer Mowalola Ogunlesi with legendary model Debra Shaw, Shaw recalls her first time seeing a Black hairstylist behind the scenes, "[That] was two seasons ago and that was in Paris with Jawara. I couldn’t even say anything – I just remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe you’re black!’"

Too many luxury fashion brands aren't improving diversity along the upper supply chain, and that is one reason why many racially insensitive moments continue to happen. If they want to be more serious about change, they should reflect diversity in their staff on all levels, especially from the big brands that have the resources to do so.

It's Still Difficult to Believe That Racists at Luxury Fashion Houses Will Change

You don't become anti-racist overnight. Furthermore, you can't prove that a designer's apology for their discretions is rooted in sincerity more than damage control. On the other hand, this doesn't mean that people can't change and grow out of their biases.

What it boils down to is this: do you find the designer or CEO sincere when they address their transgressions? Do you feel that their actions are unforgivable or even planned? It's okay to feel unsure because we don't know these people personally, after all.

The Final Verdict

dark skinned luxury fashion model in white earring, white eyeliner, black veil

All in all, just like any other industry, luxury fashion will continue to make racist designs, remarks, etc., it seems like it's just a matter of time.

It should be noted that not everyone in a single company shares such beliefs, in fact, some are actively trying to change it. Canceling brands could have a negative impact on nonproblematic people, and infiltration and diversity (when it's done right) have the potential to change the narrative. But what's the best solution? There's no right or wrong answer. You can withhold your support until changes are made, buy second-hand, cancel them, or continue to shop and hope for the best.

So, whether you opt to shop at these luxury fashion brands or not, stand firm in your choice. Just understand your reason for it.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments or send me a message!

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