In fashion there is a popular belief: one day you're in, the next day you're out.
It is a world in constant flux, subject to the cyclical whims of influencers, movements, pop culture and politics. Traditionally the fashion community has always been pioneers for positive societal, using its considerable influence to counter bigotry, homophobia, and sexual harassment. But noble intentions
are right in principle, but not always practiced. Many of the industry's elite are as well known for their outrageous behavior, as their ingenious designs.
For a while there were no rules, no consequences, and one could live outside the walls of convention, and be forgiven for it, just as long as the bottom line remained intact. Power, reputation, talent, and connections could always be relied on to sweep embarrassing problems under the rug.
But today's politically correct climate has dramatically changed all that. Public scrutiny and advocacy is the new norm and consumers have more leverage than ever before: acting as self-proclaimed judges and juries of our system. Suddenly the intolerable is no longer tolerated, and even decades-old discretions are condemned offenses. There is no statute of limitations when an outraged public is involved.
Photo Source: Instagram
A notable recent example concerns Russian designer Ulyana Sergeenko and the street style star/entrepreneur Miroslava Duma. Sergeenko was swiftly criticized for sending a bouquet of flowers to Duma, and including a handwritten note ''To all my n***as in Paris,” a nod to Kanye West and Jay-Z's famous anthem. Duma shared the note on Instagram Stories, including a heart emoji. But the casual use of the N-word proved treacherous to her fans and caused rapid social media outrage. Keep in mind; we are talking about two wealthy, white, Russian businesswomen. Influencers on social media and fashion promptly swept in to voice their displeasure, and it wasn't long before the floodgates opened. On that same day, a disturbing 2012 video of Duma surfaced, in which she goes on a homophobic and transphobic rant against blogger Bryanboy and transgender model Andreja Pejic.
Her suggestion that their presence harms the psyche of children were once again met with shock and outrage. But why had this video, which has circulated years earlier only now stirred outrage? Was the industry's deaf ear toward its prominent star's faux pas a mere judgment of error,
or a tactical effort to hide Duma's true colors?
No one talked any more about colors that day, at least not about Ulyana Sergeenko's choice of colors and patterns for her highly anticipated couture show in Paris. She took the fashion industry by storm in 2011 with her first haute couture collection. Maybe she didn't struggle like Galiano or McQueen because her husband, Russian billionaire Danil Khachaturovshe provided much needed financial support, but we can admit that Ulyana has a unique voice. Despite that, there was no mention of her collection. Much needed buzz faded away. Editors from major magazines and publications boycotted her presentation. Based on the backlash that Ulyana and Miroslava received on social media after they apologized, this type of
behavior will not be forgotten quickly, especially in the light of the recent events and movements.
Photo Source: Instagram
Flash forward to 2018, and we are seeing a new wave of accusations rocking the Fashion world. This time celebrated photographers Mario Testino, and Bruce Weber are facing scrutiny. New York Times published an in-depth report based on the testimonies of 13 models and assistants who worked with Testino and accused him of unwanted sexual advances dating back to the mid-1990s. The victims claim Testino's behavior included groping, touching himself, and kissing. Many played along to advance. Again, we see an entire community turn their heads, and his lucrative career flourishes despite these indiscretions. What took Conde Nast so long to drop Mario Testino? Now we see Weber and Testino persona non grata within an industry they bolstered, or maybe not? Maybe memories are short after all, and at the end of the day, it's the work, talent, and profit that rule the day.
Photo Source: Instagram
We'd be hardpressed to not acknowledge the John Galliano incident that could not be overlooked. Everyone was baffled when the footage of vividly intoxicated Galliano emerged in which he praises Hitler. "I love Hitler... People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers would all be f***ing gassed." Consequences were swift, and in the following days he was fired from Dior, and legendary fashion house presented a collection for the first time without its designer. Just 42 seconds was more than enough to destroy decades of brilliant creativity and put him on a blacklist. Until that he was kept on the pedestal as the inventor, genius, visionary in the fashion industry. Adored by everyone, quickly became a synonym for yet another fashion melodrama and epic fail. It was a well know public secret that Galliano back then had issues with drugs and alcohol, but that topic came out when the real problem emerged and when there was a need to justify the way he acted. At the time of the scandal, Jewish people in the fashion industry were horrified by the outburst of the talented designer. Natalie Portman, who was the face of Dior, released a statement voicing her "disgust," effectively putting the nail into Galliano's career at the house. After that Galliano got fashion detention and he was exiled for two years. Supposedly he was in the rehab trying to figure it out who he is. In between fashion pope, Anna Wintour was trying to pull some strings and bring him back. She succeeded that in October 2014 when it was announced that John Galliano would take the position of creative director for Maison Martin Margiela. Soon after that, he delivered a magnificent collection and the industry realized that it is not easy to the denounce the person who in the end brings profit and high earnings. His talent is unquestionable, but the question remains - Is he the last one who ended up with just a slap on the hand and short detention for misbehavior?