Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pay Homage/ Hold my mule

I understand art and expression. I understand that to get your point across sometimes you're not going to come off as nice or politically correct. I get that. I understand art imitating life but I don't understand is art manipulating history. I know I'm not too ghetto but what slave owner said give me freedom or give me death? It wasn't anyone who looked like me that's for sure. So when I do open my mouth to "complain" as they say we do, now I have the right because I am the consumer. Prada, the label I feel responsible for the death of the ultra-glam curvy fashion vixen and introduction of the waif, transparent, clones is at it again with this new ad campaign. Now I respect anyone's creative vision and reason for doing what they do but it is the mindless followers that turn a creative field into something formulated (wash, rinse, repeat) I don't like. Fashion is no equal opportunity place, it's not p.c, and it is unapologetic about it. As a part of that world I completely understand. But now let us talk dollars and cents. As a black designer I have heard "Don't use black models when you're starting out"...The philosophy behind this is when selling your collection, you high end clothes will read as urban on brown skin, that speaks on how people view us as a group something else I could go on about. Urban has no place in Barney's or Bergdorf. In modeling the big money comes from campaigns because agencies include usage in the fee. So when we do see black models wearing haute couture (and some who aren't even black just dark and grouped in) in editorials confined to magazines they aren't getting paid a fraction a what Becky is in the GAP campaign. To sell clothes you need an aspirational image. And what is more aspirational than a tall thin blonde young white woman who speaks the lingua de franca. Just think about it, when fashion is portrayed in any medium, any genre what does it look like? Even think about how we joke around (very rich white man/ woman). These Prada ads bother me because they reflect a time of racism and segregation. The styling, the setting, the song, they reflect a time where we were fighting to be considered a part of. Now I don't care who don't like it, or if I am off and Prada was inspired buy a movie about beatnik white kids, But I know what I see, what I've seen, and what I have experienced being Black in fashion. Muccia you give me fever. I'm not saying this is racism, I'm not saying this is an Anna Wintour situation (who is not afraid of color but doesn't wear black...) , I'm not even asking for a call to action. Boycotting a bus is different than boycotting a $3,000.00 coat. I'm saying pay homage. To my fashion boys and girls of color who praise these super models, editors, and designers that say your only beautiful one season every 10 years, recognize truth and expose it.

By Leon Curry
twitter: @ellieowendesign

Food for thought!

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