Kendall Jenner is in some hot water after posting Instagram photos of herself backstage at Milan Men’s Fashion Week wearing a Dsquared2 fur coat. Jenner—the highest paid model of 2017, FYI—shared three photos of herself lounging backstage after walking the runway for the Canadian-born brand, provoking a controversial debate about the use of real fur.
Since Jenner’s Instagram comments are disabled, her diehard fans took to Twitter to gush over the look.
OH MY GOD! It looks amazing, I’m in love pic.twitter.com/KRhwRpSGYL
— Valeria (@kendalljswife) January 15, 2018
But others urged the model to consider the ethical implications of the material that so many other fashion brands have decided to ban from their collections.
I love Kendall but real fur is for animals not people. It’s 2018, we should be banning fur… not promoting it pic.twitter.com/Opft3WfxtO
— Allyyy (@Alaina_Mariee17) January 15, 2018
The question of Jenner’s agency in this whole thing is valid, but should the backlash be solely directed at her? Why aren’t we talking about DSquared2 in all of this?
The use of fur for fashion has been a hot topic at fashion weeks for years, and lately many major fashion players are choosing to nix the use of fur for good. Gucci—the number-one brand in the world, according to Business of Fashion—announced its decision to halt fur production last October, with chief executive Marco Bizzarri saying, “Being socially responsible is one of Gucci’s core values, and we will continue to strive to do better for the environment and animals.”
Other powerhouse brands to voice support for animal rights include Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood. In 2014, Westwood announced that she would be shifting the focus from expanding her brand to protecting the environment. Since then, she’s led campaigns in support of reforming business policy, anti-fracking events, and she’s brought attention to the charity Cool Earth’s efforts to preserve the rainforests, all of which she’s chronicled on her site called Climate Revolution.
Mimi Bekhechi, director of PETA, shared his dismay over the design with The Independent. “At a time when luxury brands from Michael Kors to Gucci are dropping fur, and following the news that Norway—one of Europe’s biggest fur producers—is joining the growing list of countries that are banning fur farming, people are rightly gobsmacked to see any label send a mountain of corpses down its catwalk,” Bekheci said. “[…] With so many innovative and beautiful vegan fabrics now available, there’s simply no excuse for choosing cruelty over kindness.”
But this isn’t the first—or worst—time the twin brothers from Toronto have sparked ire over one of their runway shows. Their fall 2015 collection was rife with cultural appropriation, riffing on traditional Indigenus designs, which were worn by mostly white models. Worst of all, they came up with the utterly racist hashtag #DSquaw to promote their runway show. (“Squaw” is a derogatory term that was used by early colonialist to refer to Indigenous women.) In a since-deleted post on the brand’s site, Dsquared2 described the collection as, “the enchantment of Canadian Indian [sic] tribes. The confident attitude of the British aristocracy. In a captivating play on contrasts: an ode to America’s native tribes meets the noble spirit of Old Europe.”
The negative reaction to the collection was widespread, and it was swift.
— Johnnie Jae (@johnniejae) March 3, 2015
— Melissa A (@MelGiskaast) March 2, 2015
In a half-assed apology addressed to “the Indigenous people of Canada,” the designers wrote, “We are sad that our collection, which was meant to be a celebration of cultures, might have caused hurt through our inappropriate use of words.” They didn’t, however, address the issue of their blatant appropriation.
And it looks like they haven’t learned their lesson: in addition to including controversial fur, their latest collection features feather-adorned accessories that look like they were repurposed from that ill-conceived 2015 collection.