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Some People Are Questioning Chanel’s Hiring Of A White Woman To Lead Their Diversity Efforts

Like many major institutions, the Fashion Industry has been accused in the past of gatekeeping and breeding a lack of diversity in its designers, models, and photographers. This lack of variety in the stories told by the industry has resulted in more than a few controversies in the recent past for some of the biggest names in fashion.

Brands like Gucci, Prada, and H&M have all seen major backlash after featuring products that were more than a little racist. Back in December of 2018, it was Prada with their Golliwog-like figures displayed in the windows of their SoHo boutique. Then there was H&M and their online page featuring a young, black child wearing a shirt that had the word monkey on it. Less than a month later it was Gucci in February 2019, with their sweater that — when pulled up — had the dark features and red lips of a blackface character.

These controversies caused more than a little public outcry when they happened. Either because of these instances or because they realized it was way past time, all three of these company’s created some sort of position to encourage diversity and inclusion in their organizations.

Now, it seems that Chanel has done the same but their hire has a major difference than others in the industry.

Twitter / @BoF

Earlier this month, Fiona Pargeter — who previously held the same position at Swiss bank UBS — joined Chanel as their Head of Diversity and Inclusion. Though Pargeter obviously comes with previous experience, she also lacks something that seems important in an inclusion director. Namely, she isn’t a member of one of the marginalized communities Chanel hopes to further incorporate.

According to a post on VOGUE, the role was created as “a sign of Chanel’s commitment and its importance to the house.” In an interview with THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, a Chanel representative elaborated on this new position. The statement read:

“Fiona Pargeter just joined the company in the position of head of Diversity and Inclusion to evolve our existing diversity and inclusion approach. Diversity and Inclusion has been led for a couple of years in our People and Organization function by our people communication and engagement leader. Fiona has been hired to continue to create momentum for our efforts. This recruitment is a sign of our commitment to these topics and its importance to the house.”

While the position doesn’t necessarily require the director of diversity and inclusion to be a minority, this appointment does raise some valid questions.

Twitter / @Brigitte_Vezina

Was Pargeter the best person for the job based on her experience and skill and is that why she got the job or was it another example of failed diversification? Was her hiring a purposeful attempt to avoid tokenism and diversity hiring? Only the decision-makers at Chanel can speak towards that.

Can a white person honestly do a good enough job at reaching out to marginalized communities? Do they understand enough about the racism that Black and brown people face? Can they make a difference in the systems that oppress these communities? We aren’t sure but history has shown us that the only ones who create this kind of systematic change are people who have experienced the atrocities of said system themselves.

In response to Gucci’s controversy, streetwear designer Dapper Dan was tapped to lead a predominately black “Changemakers Council.” Additionally, the brand hired a Black Vice President of Brand and Culture Engagement, Antoine Phillips. Prada recruited director Ava DuVernay and artist Theaster Gates to co-chair the Diversity and Inclusion Council after their own backlash. Likewise, H&M made their own hires after their accusations of racism. Annie Wu was instated as Global Leader of Diversity & Inclusiveness for the company and Nigerian-American Ezinne Kwubiri was made the North American lead.

Can these Black people and people of color do a better job than Pargeter just because they understand the pain of racism? Possibly but we can’t say for sure.

Of course, Twitter had a lot to say about the Chanel hiring as well.

Twitter/ @heirjordan973

This Twitter user pointed out that Chanel’s response to too few Black people and POC in their company was to hire yet another white person. It almost reads like a bad joke when it’s put that way but it is exactly what the fashion company did in this situation.

There’s no telling how impactful this hire will prove for Chanel or other members of the industry but, in the meantime, we can vote with our dollars instead. Buy from Black and POC owned brands and know for sure that your money is going directly back into marginalized communities instead of systems that would further oppress them.

Actress On ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’ Calls Out The Fashion Industry For Using BLM As A Trend On Social Media

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Actress On ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’ Calls Out The Fashion Industry For Using BLM As A Trend On Social Media

Graham Denholm / Getty

Fashion consumers are calling out designer brands for their recent displays of Black imagery on their social media pages in light of the Black Lives Matter protests. Of course, representation is appreciated, but a recent post about “Shrill” actress Niccole Thurman is pointing out that such displays should not be treated as Fashion trends.

In a series of tweets shared with her Instagram page, Thurman held the fashion industry accountable.

Calling out the fashion industry for their past exclusion of Black people and people of color, Thurman tweeted a string of emojis, featuring white faces. Sparsely sprinkled into the white faces were a few images of Black emojis and other emojis representing people of color. Thurman captioned the image writing “every Fashion Instagram page looking like.”

Speaking about the fashion industry’s current display of Black models in their social feeds in relation to the global protests that have broken out across the country in response to the recent death of George Floyd. “Feel like this tweet will get me yelled at somehow, so let me just say I’m GLAD to see more beautiful black women in my feed,” Thurman followed up her tweet writing. “It’s just THEY’VE BEEN THERE. THEY’VE *BEEN* BEAUTIFUL. Why’re brands just now seeing them? Don’t think we’re not going to check in on you a month from now.”

Users on Twitter and Instagram were quick to applaud Thurman’s point.

Many people who saw Thurman’s emoji illustration agreed with its sentiment. “Yeees!! And every goddamn photographer (nature photographer aside) I follow probably frantically searched their picture archive for that one shot of a black model they have to post last week, like “Look! I’m good! I take pictures of black people once in a while!!” a user by the name of @LoveCrimeCat wrote in response to the tweet while another remarked that ‘It’s only a matter of time until they go back to regular programming. I hope not but for some of these brands, it’s all performance.’ 

Another user took the time to lambast the fashion industry for “It’s the truth. Half the time the clothes are cut to fit white model better. The only one who really had more models of color on their runways shows was people like Thierry Mugler before he became Manfred.”

In regards to this story, Mitú has reached out to Thurman and is waiting for a comment.

Beauty Buys That Will Help You Support Pride

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Beauty Buys That Will Help You Support Pride

Michael Loccisano / Getty

It’s Pride Month, mi gente which means that if you’ve been slacking on your support of the LGBTQ+ community its time to whip out your wallets and support! This year, we searched for beauty brands that are supporting beauty brands, not just with pretty packaging but actual action.

To celebrate Pride, check out brands that are using your buys to support Pride Month.

Marc Jacobs Beauty

Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored (with Pride) line includes six new shades of its bestselling Enamored Lip Lacquer. The new line includes fun shades like Coming Out, Dancing Sheen, Hips Don’t Lie, Pink-Kiki, and Wet Your Lips.

Each gloss is available in Marc Jacob’s limited-edition rainbow packaging. For each purchase made, proceeds will be donated to the LGBTQ organization SAGE which works to support older members of the LGBT community

Check it out here.

Glamnetic Power Lash

Glamnetic is dedicating 30% of all proceeds from its new Power Lash set donated to the Los Angeles LGBT Center. The rainbow lashes are made for easy wear and feature a magnetic band that attaches to the brand’s magnetic liner.

Check it out here.

Vaseline

beauty brands supporting pride month
Superdrug.com

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Superdrug, had pared up with Vaseline’s parent company Unilever to produce Pride versions of their beloved iconic products including your lips’ beloved Vaseline!

Check it out here.

Algenist Genius Liquid Collagen Lip

This vegan favorite comes packaged with a rainbow-decorated box to celebrate Pride. What’s more, Alegenist has pledged to support Pride by donating to organizations like The Marsha P. Johnson Institute and LGBTQ+ Freedom Fund.

Check it out here.

Bliss Makeup Melt Wipes

Stay glam while wiping off your makeup with Blizz wipes that are loaded with amazing skin products like chamomile, cucumber, and aloe. The brand is donating 100% of the proceeds of their melt wipes to The Trevor Project.

Check it out here.

Bouclème

beauty brands supporting pride month
boucleme.com

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For every one of Bouclème’s Curl Defining Gel bottle bought, the brand is donating 10% the money to AKT, an organization that works with young people who are having to endure hostile homes.

Check it out here.