Très Click: This Week in Fashion Legal Drama and More

Off the Catwalk, The Battle for Hermes and Canadian Companies Sued for Alleged Fakes
Now that all the Fashion Weeks are over and the racists are safely locked away in racism rehab, the rest of the fashion industry can get back to doing what they do best – hostile takeovers. LVMH has been steadily chipping away at Hermes’ shares for quite some time, and Liz Alderman of the New York Times has an excellent overview of the whole messy situation.

Back in Canada, Louis Vuitton Inc. and Burberry Inc. have both filed suit against two Canadian companies – one in Vancouver, one in Toronto – who have allegedly been importing knock-offs of their merchandise. This seems like the appropriate time to re-read Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas, a book that champions Hermes as the last remaining luxury house and connects knock-off purses with some other surprising and extremely illegal activities. (Also you might as well re-read our review of Deluxe in Issue 9! Right here!)

The Beautiful Generation: Asian Americans and the Cultural Economy of Fashion
Racialicious reviews a new book by culture critic Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu about the history of Asian influences in fashion – particularly “American Vogue’s strategic establishment of ‘fashion designer as cultural anthropologist’ in the mid-‘90s” – and the contemporary rise of successful Asian American designers working today. The book sounds like a fascinating exploration of the recent past and most likely a strong indicator of where the future of fashion lies.

Step, Clap, Go!
Bad News from the Bronx is featured in a new promotional video by Opening Ceremony to celebrate Target re-issuing some of the most popular pieces from the Target Go Collective. Over on Threadbared’s Facebook page, they point out some of the conflicting factors that might stop us from celebrating this video – one, Target is still funding anti-gay organizations and politicians despite a boycott, and two, Proenza Schouler has a history of dabbling in so-called ‘cultural tourism.’ I’m torn, but I have to admit I’m leaning on the “This isn’t so great” side of things. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Dystopian Dollar Store Finds
A collection of truly terrifying dollar store merchandise photos. Ashley Olsen, what are you doing in there?!?! Why is your hair grey? So many questions.

- Haley Mlotek

Don’t Be Racist (or, Haley Wornette’s Thoughts on John Galliano)

Very little about the whole John Galliano mess surprised me – the allegations seemed plausible, and the video was just the proverbial nail in the coffin. Even though I know it’s supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, I also know that where there is smoke there is usually a racist. (That’s the expression, right?)

What did surprise me, and I mean this in the best possible way, was LVMH’s swift and decisive action: immediate suspension, followed by termination. It surprised me because it seemed like such a reasonable response to a terrible situation. Lets be real, the fashion industry is not known for handling these situations reasonably.

In any other profession, just the allegations of offenses like anti-Semitism, racism, sexual assault, or child labour law violations would be enough to get someone fired. Yet when it comes to people in fashion – be they designers like Galliano, editors, stylists, photographers – there seems to be a never-ending stream of people who rush to the guilty party’s defense. It’s all a conspiracy. He’s a sweetheart. He was provoked. She apologized. You’re being too hasty. By far the worst defense I saw was that Galliano could not possibly be racist because “[his] multi-ethnic shows, celebrating the beauty of nomadic worlds, and looking into visual languages of forgotten minorities (from everywhere on this planet), has brilliantly proved it to everyone from collection to collection since years.” Being “inspired” by a culture’s fashion doesn’t mean you can’t hate the people wearing it.

The fashion industry does not get a free pass on bad behaviour just because they happen to create great clothes. It goes without saying that John Galliano is an incredibly talented designer, but he’s an employee of LVMH first. An employee who professes to love Hitler simply cannot remain on the payroll of a responsible corporation. Well played, LVMH – I hope that more businesses follow in your example. Most importantly I hope one day I won’t feel like applauding those who stand up for basic ethics like “don’t be racist.”

- Haley Mlotek