The fashion industry is no stranger to problematic wording and thought processes and often, it gets highlighted when designers and industry insiders do not realise the issues with their approach. Enter statements that are sexist, regressive, fatphobic and more. While most often these are followed up with a deletion or two, in the world of social media and screenshots, there is hardly any room for denial.
Here's taking a look at the relatively recent fashion controversies that caused quite a stir. Read on.
When designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee labelled 'overdressed' women as 'wounded' in one of his campaigns, further cementing his words with a quote from Miss Havisham, a fictional character from Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. His dialogue was met with unanimous disagreement, with followers quick to call out the misogyny of his eponymous label's statement. Later, the fashion designer issued an apology, citing faults in articulation, as you will see in the picture below.
The controversy followed another where he faced backlash for his statements at a conference. "I think, if you tell me that you do not know how to wear a saree, I would say shame on you. It's a part of your culture, you need to buck up and stand up for it," the designer had said. Post a massive retaliation, he had issued an apology on the subject.
When Diet Sabya shared pictures from collections by fashion designers Rohit Bal and Samanth Chauhan, highlighting similarities in silhouette, the former hurled derogatory language at women journalists and designers who didn't speak in his favour. While the comments were later deleted, the veteran designer's behaviour on social media came under scrutiny.
Many were shocked when the topic of 'fat tax', a term used to denote extra money being charged from those requiring large sizes, came to light. Several shared personal anecdotes on Instagram once the topic was raised by Aishwarya Subramanyam and Diet Sabya. The many testimonies revealed how customers had often been asked to pay more if they fell under a particular size, mostly anything over a 'M', with designers citing extra costs pertaining to embroidery, fabric and more.
Post the revelations, a few names from the design fraternity stepped up to own to the practice and to change the system within their labels. You can read more about it here.
Sanjay Garg's Raw Mango too found itself in the middle of a controversy when it released Zooni, a collection inspired by the Kashmir valley, on October 2019. Considering that the heavy lockdown had begun in August and was very much still in place, the label faced the ire of people who called them out for being insensitive and fetishising Kashmir while making monetary gains when the people there suffered. Raw Mango recalled the collection with an apology. Read their statement on the subject below.
The last time the celebrity photographer did his much-hyped annual calendar shoot, Dabboo Ratnani and Shraddha Kapoor faced backlash for cultural appropriation. In the picture released by the photographer, the Bollywood actress could be seen wearing a Native American headdress, which caused an uproar. Dabboo Ratnani's wife, Manisha responded by sharing a brief statement. "We were not aware of this. The intention is never to hurt anyone whether it is from India or from abroad. I had no clue of the ‘cultural appropriation’ issue.”
When asked in a post-show interview about what she would recommend for plus-size brides, Falguni Peacock answered by saying, "Long blouses, more flared lehengas and not fitted because fitted won't really work when you’re a little big. No deep necks for them may be more higher." The one-half of design duo Falguni & Shane was called out for her reply that was deemed fatphobic, though she later apologised saying how she herself dealt with body issues and didn't intend to hurt anyone.
Here's hoping that the industry has learnt better from spewing statements, content and collections without a thought.
Featured Image: Instagram