Veronique Branquinho: No Diversity, No Comment

I love her designs, but I’m not the only one who has noticed Branquinho maybe has a serious problem with hiring models of colour.

Let’s just take a look back at her last few collections, shall we?


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There were 0 models of colour in her Fall 2016 runway show.


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For her Spring 2016 show, Branquinho had Mona Matsuoka walk the runway (not pictured above), who is half Japanese. She appeared to be the only model who was not entirely white, however.


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The Closet Feminist noted last year that Veronique Branquinho’s Resort collection was especially lacking diversity. So, as you can see above, it’s been a full year and no change…

When Fashion Uses People of Colour as Props

Fashion ads and editorials in magazines have a long, sordid history of using people of colour as props (sometimes literally). Elle Canada‘s June issue is the latest publication to make this tasteless misstep.


The editorial, “Heat Wave” (pictured above and throughout) was styled by Juliana Schiavinatto, with photography by Max Abadian and Art Direction by Brittany Ecles. It starred model Pamela Bernier as the happy imperialist.

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The silly thing (aside from you know, the racism), was that Bernier looked great on her own, as you can see above. With the addition of the other folks in the pictures, she looks like the white person we all know who would describe herself as “worldly,” and enthuse about the delicious “other” cuisine she got turned onto thanks to “the locals.”

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Shamefully, Elle Canada does not name the other folks in the pictures. There is a small note at the end of the editorial thanking “Meliá Braco Village and the Jamaica Tourist Board,” but that, I’m afraid, is it.


Don’t believe that using POCs as props is a thing? Check out the list below.

W Continues Fashion’s Tradition of Using ‘Exotic’ People As Props

Fashion Discussion: Black Men as Props

One Of The Most Blatant Racist Photo Shoots We’ve Ever Seen


Elle Canada’s 2016 Model Search Lacking Diversity


Elle Canada recently celebrated its 15th birthday! While this magazine does have a lot of quality reporting, and is arguably one of the most feminist fashion magazines on the market, the racial diversity within its pages is often lacking. In 2015, for example, the majority (seven, to be precise) of issues Elle Canada put on newsstands were Whiteout Issues.

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A new misstep from Elle Canada is the model search they are conducting. As you can see from the scans here, all of the top five finalists of the competition are white.

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Not surprising, mostly just really disappointing–these models reflect a part of Canada, not all of it.

Festival Style 2016: On-trend vs. Offensive


Image above found here

There’s folksy, and then there’s offensive. Denim cut-offs, fringe crop tops, boho braids, Flash Tattoos–sure. But somewhere along the way, the ubiquitous flower crown gave way to other cranial adornments, with attendees sporting bindis (Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Sarah Hyland and Vanessa Hudgens) and feathered headdresses (Poppy Delevingne and Vanessa Hudgens, again).

Appropriation shamers abound online, waking society p to how seriously uncool it is to perpetuate stereotypes and disrespect marginalized cultures through fashion. You can’t just glitter up, toss on a headdress and waltz into Osheaga anymore.

Image above found here.

Literally. The Montreal music festival banned the aboriginal war bonnets out of respect for First Nations people last year. Headdresses are also a no go at Bass Coast in Merritt, B.C., the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and WayHome in Oro-Medonte, Ont.

Us Canucks are mostly solo in our efforts, though. Aside from England’s Glastonbury, which no longer permits the sale of headdresses on its grounds, most of the world’s top multi-day music gatherings have yet to roll out official dress-code policies that prohibit such flippant costuming.

  • from “In Full Loom” by Lauren O’Neil in Flare May 2016

Valentino’s Pre-Fall 2016 Collection Had An Uncomfortable Amount of “Borrowing”


So yeaaaaaa the Pre-Fall 2016 collection for Valentino….there is a highly-uncomfortable amount of borrowing stealing from other cultures happening…

I mean, I’m happy that this design house is now helmed by a woman (Maria Grazia Chiuri is the designer, along with Pierpaolo Piccioli), but this collection is pretty rough. Vogue Runway writer Nicole Phelps notes in her review of the collection:

” Having plumbed the depths of their own Italian heritage and, most recently, explored African themes on their Spring runway, Chiuri and Piccioli merged west (New York and other bits of Americana) with the east of Japan here. The way the showroom was divided accentuated the differences. New York was irrepressibly colorful and smothered with stars, fringe, tie-dye, and the Chrysler Building kitschily picked out in metallic sequins. The Japanese section was subtler, with an emphasis on neutral hues and humble wabi-sabi embroideries of cherry blossoms, clouds, and flying birds on outerwear featuring traditional quilted linings. Bamboo prints turned up on simple long-sleeved dresses, pajama sets, and button-down and pleated skirt combos. But in fact there was a lot of cross-pollination. A karate gi got the tie-dye treatment, and Mt. Fuji mingled with red, white, and blue fireworks on a minidress and a double-face coat.”

  • emphasis mine, read the whole review by Nicole Phelps here

Very uncomfortable. “Having plumbed the depths of their own Italian heritage,” smacks of white privilege–i.e., white designers being lazy, privileged and bored by their own white cultures, they move on to go steal ideas, prints, and designs from other cultures.

I’ll say right off the bat that I’m not happy to see this hairstyle on white models:


Yes, there was one token black model modeling for the lookbook, but token hiring practices are hardly a “get out of racism free” card in fashion. And yes, not every look is an egregious example of cultural appropriation.


But still, there was a helluva lot of fringe, Asian-inspired prints, and even heavy borrowing from Rastafarian cultures.

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For me at least, this collection strikes out, big time. It’s lazy and uninspired. It’s the epitome of shameless stealing in couture-level design. Better luck next time, kids.


Bonus reading: I’m Ready For A New Conversation on Cultural Appropriation.

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