The fashion industry is known for profiting out of cultural appropriation and there is no definite law that prevents this problematic behavior. For example, Marc Jacobs’ September 2017 show featured an abundance of white models wearing pastel-colored dreadlocks. This hairstyle is traditionally worn by black women and members of the Black community. The backlash Jacobs received caused him to say that he perhaps is ‘a bit insensitive’ and that he ‘doesn’t see race.’ Moreover, nothing was done about it other than just an apology from Jacobs and simply moved on to the next pret-a-porter line. Has fashion appropriation become normal in the industry? If so, big brands do not own the rights to that style and lawsuits will eventually bombard them.
Is This Inspiration, Appropriation, or Stealing?
This past fashion week in Milan, MOSCHINO showcased their 2019 spring collection that highly resembled to Norwegian designer Edda Gimnes’ 2017 spring collection. The ‘scribbled’ effects on the garments are the same in both collections. Immediately after Jeremy Scott’s collection surfaced, Gimnes took to social media to condemn the brand. She stated on Instagram that she had actually met with someone from the MOSCHINO team last November in New York and that she had also shown all of her sketches and ideas to them. Unfortunately, they did not give her any credit and the resemblance is unquestionable. The colors, the textures, and the presentation are an absolute ‘inspiration’ from Gimnes’ work. For designers like Jeremy Scott, there is no stopping them if they decide to appropriate the Navaho tribe’s fashion, for example. However, if they steal an idea, what kind of lawsuits can Gimnes follow?
Now returning to cultural appropriation, this is not the first time MOSCHINO has been heavily ‘inspired’ by the fashion of others. Jeremy Scott, another powerful white gay man like Jacobs, has ripped of ideas from drag queens featured on RuPaul’s Drag Race and RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Starts. MOSCHINO´s spring-summer 2017 featured paper-doll fashion that were almost identical to a look from All Stars. These looks were done before by Milk, who is a participant of RuPaul’s reality competition. The New York drag queen ranted on Instagram about how MOSCHINO had stolen her paper-doll aesthetics with the hashtag #moppedbymoschino.
Scott’s latest runway looks not only where stolen from Gimnes’ sketches, but also appropriates drag culture. Twitter started to assimilate the looks of past contestants of the drag queen show with the wigs and outfits used in the 2019 MOSCHINO show. Queer culture targets, through art, the construction of masculinity and femininity via fashion. The exaggeration of makeup, big wigs, and extravagant outfits, combining femininity and masculinity, give a political commentary on society’s fixation on gender. As RuPaul’s Drag Race becomes more mainstream by the minute, more powerful gay men will take advantage of what fresh new looks drag queens come up with. At the end, Milk didn’t do anything about her stolen outfits and most probably Gimnes will settle in court after a lawsuit goes through.
Is it PC to appropriate?
Is it morally correct to steal ideas of the Native American tribes then sell it with the label MOSCHINO? Is it really inspiration what caused the similarities between Gimnes’ and Scott’s outfits? Is MOSCHINO’s latest runway a blatant appropriation of drag culture? Do what you will with the facts, but there is nothing right about stealing ideas from other sources.
Finally, we invite you to explore our website and help these up-and-coming artists by purchasing their fabulous art.