Fashion Houses Celine And Ferragamo Accused Of Racial Discrimination And False Support Of The Black Lives Matter Movement

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PARIS, FRANCE — When #BlackoutTuesday morphed from its initial music industry day of solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement to a social media moment for the wider public, a variety of fashion houses jumped on the bandwagon and quickly followed.

One by one, designers and fashion brands added messages of support in the form of the little black squares that quickly took over feeds. Some went further, with donation pledges. For the majority of the brands, it was the first time they had ever spoken out against racism in a public forum.

That support may have been an historical first, but many are now questioning its authenticity as industry insiders respond with accusations of behind-the-scenes discrimination.

On Tuesday, LVMH MoĂ«t Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE owned Celine posted a message on its Instagram account: “Celine stands against all forms of discrimination, oppression and racism. Tomorrow’s world will not exist without equality for all,” read the text in its little black box.

Shortly after, celebrity stylist Jason Bolden commented on the brand’s post: “Wait really, u (SIC) guys dnt dress any black celebs unless they have a white stylist. FACTS.” The exchange was documented on Diet Prada’s account, which also broke down the percentages of black models that have walked in the brand’s six shows since Hedi Slimane became the French fashion house’s creative, artistic and image director in 2018 (see it here). The post ended with a scroll through Slimane’s photo archives, which showed his signature black-and-white photos featuring only white subjects.

Italian fashion brand Salvatore Ferragamo also came under fire. After posting a black square with the #BlackoutTuesday hashtag, it followed with an image of hands and a quote from Nelson Mandela in its caption. “Reaching for a more egalitarian future. Racism must end now. #BlackLivesMatter,” read the statement that followed.

Actor Tommy Dorfman responded by reposting the image on their story feed, which was captured by Diet Prada. (Dorfman is gender-nonconforming and goes by the pronouns they/them.) “It is imperative to call out companies that you know to be racist during this time. I did not do my part in doing this months ago when they showed their true selves,” wrote Dorfman. The actor detailed numerous instances of alleged discrimination while working with the brand to cast models for and photograph its Viva shoe campaign for spring ’20, which featured actresses Kiersey Clemons, Camila Mendes, Paloma Elsesser and Olivia Sui.

“I heard directly from their creative director that they asked if, in photoshop, they could make a black model white,” Dorfman said. It is unclear if Dorfman was referring to Ferragamo creative director Paul Andrew, but the photoshoot is credited to him.

Photos Credit: Instagram Reproduction

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Donovan

Donovan is the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of www.dmfashionbook.com. For all general inquiries please email don@dmfashionbook.com Donovan has a BA in Journalism & Media Studies from the prestigious Rutgers University. He's currently studying entertainment and fashion law.