Just last month, the Italian godlike-genius, left-wing fashion designer Miuccia Prada admitted that the fashion world is so inherently sexist that for a while she felt working in the industry conflicted with her feminist views so much that she considered leaving the business altogether. This week, the outspoken fashion icon Donatella Versace told the Telegraph:
“Feminism is dead in the world. It comes from another time, I’m a feminist. I want to
fight, but I don’t see many people with this desire to fight for something. Women don’t
help each other, especially in fashion. I know Miuccia… but that’s it. Nobody else”.
Despite her icy and aloof public persona, it would seem that Ms. Donatella has been made to feel as insecure and vulnerable as the next aspiring fashionista. The fashion industry is made up of over 80% women, so why is it that even hugely successful women are made to feel that their feminist values should be forgotten about, in order to make it in the fashion business?
Donatella’s sentiments have gone viral, and every journalist under the sun seems to have something to say about the designer’s statement. Some publications have branded her an anti-feminist, claiming that Donatella’s pronouncement of the death of feminism in fashion is a backward step for women in the industry. Others have shrugged off her opinion, claiming that ‘sexist’ experiences are too difficult to categorise, and that though Ms. Prada and Ms. Versace may allege that sexism is all the rage in the fashion industry, they both have great careers.
It is true that both women are immensely successful, but surely by criticising what they have to say, we are merely playing into the sexists hands. By disregarding what Donatella has to say, we are merely confirming her fears. That women don’t want to help each other. It is a sorry thing when women opt to flatter their male contemporaries, rather than helping their female colleagues to get ahead in the game. Yet, the reaction to Donatella’s own grievances would imply that this is exactly what is happening in the industry.
Perhaps the critics are correct, and Donatella isn’t quite right; perhaps the bond between fashion and feminism isn’t over just yet, but by the looks of it, it’s gonna take a lot of willing and a lot of effort to get the relationship back on track.
Article by Jessica Newsome.