This Week In Fashion: Anna Wintour Under Scrutiny, Matthew M. Williams appointed at Givenchy & More

Maggie Scaife breaks down the latest fashion industry news.

WORDS Maggie Scaife
IMAGE Joe Cruz

As we finish the third week of Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations, it’s imperative this discourse does not lose momentum on social media and in the news cycle alike. We are inspired that members of the fashion industry are determined to ensure their commitments to anti-racism are forevermore. We all must continue using our voice and amplifying concerns by demonstrating support as we have seen through rolling donations, providing platforms for Black voices or internal shifts inside the workplace. 

Robyn Lynch Makes Space for Anti-Racism Amidst LFW Digital

Proud Dubliner and 2018 Alum of Menswear at Westminster University Robyn Lynch is one of the designers who launched their latest collection virtually this week as a part of the first Digital London Fashion Week. She made it crystal clear to her Instagram community that she would be posting “minimal snapshots” of the event on the platform as an effort to not distract followers and take space away from the importance of anti-racism resources currently being posted at this moment in time. “It is vital that I allow the information and educational posts to take centre stage and I save my brands artwork and presentation for a different day” says Lynch. 

Her capsule collection is a collaboration with cycling lifestyle brand Rapha who specialise in ‘performance road wear’. Lynch says she’s “a long-term fan” of the brand and reached out to them at the beginning of production. The twelve pieces incorporate deadstock fabric and returned garments sustainably giving them a new lease of life.  

SAGE Flowers Are on a Mission to Diversify Floristry With Their Live Directory  

SAGE flowers are independent florists based in Peckham, South London and a loyal BRICKS stockist. The business is co-run by two local female residents Romy and Iona who, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, have been brainstorming ways to increase visibility for minorities in their field of expertise. They devised an email template urging supporters to send to the New Covent Garden Flower Market outlining the lack of floral industry representation, of which their responding statement was “far from enough”. Following this, the duo has created an ongoing People Of Colour in floristry directory in an easy-access Google Doc, which they are encouraging growers, plant people and delivery services to add themselves or their friends/colleagues too. Currently, the list is at 39 and counting, experts from around the globe including Cape Town, Scotland and San Francisco have made themselves known.

Anna Wintour is Under Scrutiny After Confessing “Vogue has not done enough for black people”

Renowned Editor and Creative Director of American Vogue Anna Wintour sent out an email to all employees after rumours of her resignation circulated. The editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport of Bon Appétit magazine, another title underrneath the Condé Nast umbrella, has stepped down from his position after a photo emerged of him in 2013 dressed up in stereotypical Puerto Rican Brownface. Calls for Wintour to make space for a POC after heading the publication for 32 years and making several problematic mistakes during her time were consensual, however her email was clear to dismiss these feelings. 

Wintour stated: “I know Vogue has not found enough ways to elevate and give space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators…We have made mistakes too, publishing images or stories that have been hurtful or intolerant. I take full responsibility for those mistakes.” Journalist Yashar Ali tweeted “under Anna Wintour’s leadership, Vogue has engaged in stunning acts of overt and covert racism. Let’s not forget, it took her 30 years to hire a black photographer to photograph the cover of Vogue…and Beyonce made that happen. A major hypocrite”. This debacle was perhaps the catalyst for the viral birth of #voguechallenge. It allows those who feel underrepresented by the publication to see themselves ‘on the cover’, an influx of entries from readers made this issue very clear. 

Depop Make Commitments to Their Black Community

Depop sent out an email to users on Monday with the subject line: ‘Our commitment to the Black community’. In this email they declared “You told us these past few weeks we weren’t doing enough for our Black community: and you’re right. Diversity has always been fundamental to Depop – but it hasn’t been represented fully on our platform and we’re changing that.” The email went on to discuss a $20,000 donation to US civil rights organisation the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People and their collaboration with Depop sellers to raise $10,000 from fees to other organisations. These include “Black & Pink, The Okra Project and LGBTQ Freedom Fund – who work to support Black LGBTQIA+ lives, ensuring their safety, fighting for their justice and providing them with food and financial support.”

Designer Bianca Saunders Releases a Collaborative Zine

Home-grown London talent Bianca Saunders has released a zine, available to purchase on her website, titled ‘We Are One Of The Same’ alongside two printed posters in collaboration with successful fashion photographer Joshua Woods from Harlem. The A5 zine visually tackles pressing themes of community, gender and identity in each flick through the 17 pages. The models cast are twins Faheem (@fahhbless) and Mecca Allah (@mecca_allah), skater Faheem posts on his Instagram feed: “together we stand against negativity and together we can work for change to better ourselves and all of humanity.” 

Political Football Kits Make Their Debut in an Empty Stadium

BBC Sport spotlighted fresh designs for Arsenal’s new season football shirts on Tuesday as the long-awaited Premier League returns under new social distanced guidelines with no live spectators allowed. The navy and yellow design features the NHS logo centred inside a blue heart and Black Lives Matter inside a black and white circle on the chest and scribed across the back where the players name would usually appear. The team’s account tweeted “Two more reasons to wear the Arsenal shirt with pride.” 

Bianca Saunders x Joshua Woods Zine

Rue-L Launch S/S Charity Collection 

Fashion brand Rue-L (a playful portmanteau of the French word for ‘street’ and ‘elle’) states “We at Rue-L recognise that words without actions are nothing.” With this sentiment in mind, they announced that 100% of the profits of their current Spring/Summer collection will be donated 50/50 split between two charities – the official @blmuk coalition and @blackvisionscollective based in Minnesota. Fronted by South London editor of WAVE magazine Savannah Blake their Instagram caption reads “Being actively anti-racist is something we can implement into our way of thinking and being. Revolution is a process, not a one-time event.”

NIKE’s Equality Initiatives Are Laid on the Table

Following their successful “For Once Don’t Do It” campaign video, the activewear conglomerate announced “a $40 million commitment over the next four years to support the Black community in the U.S. on behalf of the NIKE, Jordan and Converse brands collectively. This commitment will be focused on investing in and supporting organizations that put social justice, education and addressing racial inequality in America at the centre of their work.” The company break down their commitments into three ‘Standing Up For Equality’ initiatives: Leading With Our Employees, Equal Playing Fields For All and Breaking Down Barriers For All Athletes. 

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AWAKE NY Raise Funds Through Archive Sale

AWAKE NY, a brand heavily supported by streetwear aficionados, defines themself as “a reflection of the diversity that has defined the city’s cultural landscape”. They held an online archive sale which generated $15,000 to be donated to the New York Immigration Coalition and Make the Road NY. “Through unity and togetherness, we can make measurable impacts on society and help to bring about change and correct the injustices that so many endure.” The brand also made a “considerable donation” to Marzy Jane’s GoFundMe “to help support BLACK/POC/LGBTQ Mothers and Birth Workers and “La Morada” a small business Mexican restaurant in the Bronx, NY.” 

Emma Watson Assumes Change-making Position at Kering

Emma Watson has confirmed she’s become a member of the board of Kering, the international Paris-based luxury corporation who own the likes of Gucci, Bottega Venetta, Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent. As an active ambassador of sustainability and transparency within the fashion industry this position will provide Watson the ability to perform her activism on the inside, as an influential voice in ethical, ecological production decision-making.

Matthew M. Williams Joins the Givenchy Family

Amidst a somewhat uncertain future for the fashion industry, sleek tailoring mogul Matthew M. Williams, the founder of 1017 ALYX 9SM, announced this week that long-standing LVMH-owned Givenchy has appointed him as their new Creative Director. William’s is to replace the Clare Waight Keller shaped hole who reportedly cut ties with the French label back in April. Fans are eagerly anticipating… 

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