Do you think Pharrell should not have worn a Native American head-dress on cover of Elle UK? We don’t.
Although this sparked understandable and respectable outrage from communities and commentators alike, resulting in a sincere apology by the cultural icon, we believe this new controversy shows society has figured fashion out all wrong.
As a matter of fact, the base of controversy seems far-fetched to us, or at least most of commentators express it with little concision: most of the tweets bear judgments such as “it’s not ok”, ‘what’s wrong with you” and “this is scandalous”, only a few mention the reasons of anger:
Cultural appropriation seems to be the problem, as highlighted Refinery29. But the real question is where is the line to draw for offensiveness?
We believe blackfaceing a model is a mistake, but criticizing a graphic and photographic fashion job made with respect (at least benefit of that doubt can be given to the team in charge, right?) seems way over-crying. Why did fashion teams like this one chose this item? Because it bears positive symbols, it also has impeccable visual style and it may remind us that some cultures should not be lost in contemporary moments.
This cover is beautiful. It has character. It does not depict a community in any negative way. Let’s stop underestimating the fashion industry’s capacity to curate cultures. Fashion is not a superficial discipline, whatever twitter might say.