This Month In Fashion: Luxury Embraces NFTs, Teen Vogue Hiring Scandal, Harry Brings Back Boas & More

BRICKS editorial assistant Letizia Consiglio breaks down the leading industry stories from March.

HEADER IMAGE Noah Cyrus wearing Schiaparelli at the Grammys.

Teen Vogue editor resigns over Anti-Asian tweets

Amid continuous harassment and hate targeting the Asian-American community, including the despicable shooting in Atlanta that killed 8 people working at an Asian beauty parlour and following a #StopAsianHate social media uproar, the fashion industry must take responsibility for its own contributions.

This month, Alexi McCammond of Teen Vogue resigned as editor-in-Chief after facing criticism for recently resurfaced racist tweets from 2011. Although having taken swift action, Condé Nast has come under fire for hiring McCammond in the first place having known about the disgraceful tweets before. McCammond’s appointment was also widely criticised

Photographer Yu Tsai who has worked for Teen Vogue questions the magazine’s integrity and alliance to their Asian audience and told the Guardian: “I think Condé Nast must have thought the Asian community would remain silent about this matter. [But] our community will not take social injustice and racism silently.” 

In a time where the fashion world claims to value the Asian community racist remarks and verbal abuse from industry members can no longer be tolerated and must face adequate consequences. 

Dolce & Gabbana sues Diet Prada for 2018 call-out 

Another month, another controversy around Dolce & Gabbana: the Italian luxury brand has sued Instagram’s fashion watchdog Diet Prada for defamation. The lawsuit circles back to the #DGLovesChina campaign that launched in 2018 and featured a Chinese model struggling to eat pasta with chopsticks – a tone-deaf display of tasteless stereotypes. 

Spearheading the subsequent social media uproar was Diet Prada who called out not only the campaign but co-founder Stefano Gabbana’s racist Instagram comments. 

The fashion house has since demanded more than an estimated £390 million in damages from the online fashion critic for smearing D&G’s reputation and causing loss of revenue and opportunities – causing even more online hostility towards the brand. “With so much anti-Asian hate spreading in the U.S., it feels wrong to continue to remain silent about a lawsuit that threatens our freedom of speech,” read the statement Diet Prada posted in response. 

The Grammy’s marked the return of IRL red carpet looks

Like every public event this past year, award shows had to adapt and have been hosted digitally with red carpet appearances being reduced to celebrities’ front porches. However, this year’s Grammy Awards have managed to invite BRICKS’s favourite artists to sit masked around socially distanced dinner tables after making several fashion statements on the red carpet.

An abundance of feathers cascaded down Doja Cat wearing a Roberto Cavalli gown while Harry Styles swung a feather boa à la Bowie around his neck inspiring a +1500% spike in online page views for boas. We loved BRICKS’ cover star Phoebe Bridgers’ sparkling rendition of a skeleton dress designed by Thom Browne. Elsewhere, Noah Cyrus served up duvet but make it fashion wearing a billowing Schiaparelli gown. 

While the apparent display of social distancing was questionable we still appreciate some of the stars such as Billie Eillish and Taylor Swift wearing matching face masks. Still, we hope to omit the need for masks for next year’s Grammys. 

Bottega Veneta sells £1,425 telephone cords

In the latest edition of ridiculously overpriced designer pieces – Bottega Veneta dropped a coiled necklace resembling old telephone cords for a whopping £1,425. The Internet promptly reacted by comparing the luxury accessory with their grandma’s pre-smartphone era receiver cords and condemning the exorbitant price tag. 

Jokes aside, our main grievance here is the recognition and sales Bottega Veneta will still generate from this unimaginative and boring design idea while there’s a plethora of emerging, independent jewellery designers we love at BRICKS. Think Kuhla’s funky statement earrings, The Clay Drop’s quirky key rings and Katherine Scarlett’s cosmic clay rings. 

Molly Goddard x Ugg collection is here

The most exciting shoe drop of the month is the collaboration between Molly Goddard and Ugg which gave us fluffy slippers, ginormous platforms and a floral rendition of the classic boot. The London-based designer first teased the collection during last autumn’s Fashion Week and paired the various styles with her signature tulle dresses. 

We love seeing creators such as Goddard branching out into new sectors and receiving support from high-profile brands. “Shoes are notoriously hard to make and produce, so when you are given the opportunity to design with few limitations it’s hard to say no,” she tells Vogue

Ahead of the spring season, this drop combines the perfect balance between quickly slipping on a light shoe while still keeping cozy in traditional Ugg-style.

Non-fungible tokens enter the luxury fashion market

Over the past few weeks, virtually every industry has seen a high-profile non-fungible token (NFT) deal. There was musician Grimes’ sale of various digital works for roughly $6 million. The artist Beeple sold an NFT for $69 million in an auction at Christie’s. Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey’s first tweet went for $2.9 million. The NBA’s digital products arm Top Shot collaborated with blockchain company Dapper Labs to sell virtual basketball cards, which has resulted in over $230 million worth of transactions so far.

Fashion’s own NFT headline came from a collaboration between design studio RTFKT and 18-year old digital artist Fewocious, with 621 pairs of shoes selling for roughly $3.1 million total, each pair priced from $3,000 to $10,000. The shoes were issued as NFTs, meaning that the buyers can’t wear — or even touch their purchases.

Business of Fashion drops Sustainability Index

On Monday, Business of Fashion published its Sustainability index tracking the world’s top fashion companies and their efforts (or lack thereof) towards more environmentally conscious production. As the ‘transparency’ score of 48% shows the fashion industry is increasing engagement and leading discussions about supply chains and company ethics – however, it’s failing to stick to their targets regarding water use, materials and waste. 

What’s most surprising is the slight disparity between the overall performance scores of the luxury and high street market which rules in the latter’s favour. Overwhelmingly disappointing are the low numbers showcasing the industry’s campaign for human rights and fair working conditions. 

While stats and figures might not sway you, if there’s one thing to definitely take away from the index is the long way most companies still have to go from simply setting ambitious targets to actually making a positive impact. 

H&M and Nike face backlash in China against the use of cotton from Xinjiang

International brands including Burberry, H&M and Nike are facing boycott calls in China after taking a stand on not using cotton from Xinjiang, alleging abuse of Uighur Muslims in the region.

However, Nike faced further backlash after releasing a statement against garment production in the region, saying “We are concerned about reports of forced labor in, and connected to, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Nike does not source products from the XUAR and we have confirmed with our contract suppliers that they are not using textiles or spun yarn from the region.” The statements have not gone down well in China, with popular Chinese actor Wang Yibo announcing on Weibo on Thursday the termination of his contract with Nike over the company’s Xinjiang statement.

Meanwhile for H&M, this news comes after a month of controversy. In February, The Guardian reported that an Indian garment worker employed by H&M was tragically killed following months of workplace harassment. In response to her murder, 25 other women have made allegations to local labour authorities of sexual assault, harassment and verbal abuse by male overseers at the H&M Natchi Apparels. According to the reports, the garment factories cultivate an environment of persistent sexual violence and control by the male supervisors while victims receive little support from authorities. 

The fashion industry has long been plagued by allegations of inhumane working conditions, low pay, and abuse at fast fashion companies’ garment factories. Even though public awareness has spread and international efforts have been made to address these issues female workers keep suffering under oppressive male-dominated structures. 

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