Coachella: music & arts festival or advertising extravaganza?

Friday, April 14 marked Coachella’s 2017 kickoff. With Radiohead, Lady Gaga and Kendrick Lamar headlining, more than 100,000 guests are expected to be in attendance after the Indio City Council voted to raise the cap from 99,000 to 126,000 last year, according to The Desert Sun.

The music and arts festival, which launched in 1999, seems to be filled with guests more interested in advertising and self-promotion than, well, music and the arts. While Empire Polo Club, the event’s venue, is technically in Indio, California, many well-known attendees refer to the location as Palm Springs, a nearby resort town about 2 hours outside Los Angeles by car. Every year it seems the entire West Coast (and half the East Coast) makes its way to Palm Springs for the 3-day-long affair.

Shea Marie and Jess Mair at a party sponsored by Revolve on the first day of Coachella 2017 [source: Instagram user @revolve]
A-list celebs like Emily Ratajkowski made their big Coachella debut this year, along with bloggers and YouTubers like Chiara Ferragni and Lauren Elizabeth. Of course, social media starlets like Hailey Baldwin and Kylie Jenner hinted at their attendance via Instagram, too.

Additionally, several big-name brands headed to Palm Springs for the first festival of the season. Revolve, a web-based retailer, enlisted the help of It girls like Olivia Culpo and Devon Lee Carlson to promote its brand with the hashtag #RevolveFestival. Carlson, along with her younger sister Sydney, also starred on the Snapchat account of online boutique Dolls Kill on Friday, the 14th. Later, the duo attended Galore magazine‘s party together. The sisters Carlson rose to fame after launching Wildflower, a brand of iPhone cases with a fan base that includes Miley Cyrus and Bella Hadid.

YouTube sensations Christine Sydelko and Elijiah Daniel used their humor to rep the popular app Grindr, while model Cait Barker and pals promoted Pretty Little Thing‘s joint party with Paper magazine. Other models in attendance included ARSENIC regular Kylie Rae and Miss California USA 2016 Nadia Grace Mejia.

The hard-partying gang that includes Jess Mair, Shea Marie and Caroline Vreeland were also eager to make their presence at Coachella known via their respective social media platforms.

Victoria’s Secret bombshells Alessandra Ambrosio, Martha Hunt, Josephine Skriver, Romee Strijd and Jasmine Tookes reunited in Palm Springs to promote their hashtag #VSangeloasis. Ambrosio, a VS veteran-turned-swimwear designer, gained a little extra recognition for her namesake brand Ale by Alessandra, sold at, you guessed it, Revolve. Sydney, the younger of the two Carlson sisters, actually sported a knit bikini by Ale on Friday, the 14th.

Rachel Zoe, famed fashion designer, businesswoman and writer behind The Zoe Report, hosted a party dubbed #ZOEasis on Saturday, April 15. Notable attendees like actress Kate Bosworth, supermodel Chanel Iman, blogger Danielle Bernstein (We Wore What) and Zoe herself took to Instagram to show off their looks from the second day of Coachella at Colony 29, a picturesque resort in Palm Springs.

Sydney Carlson in an Ale by Alessandra swimsuit, yellow bandana and blonde wig, captioned “#RevolveFestival” [source: Instagram user @sydneylcarlson]
Nonconformists coined the term, err, hashtag #nochella to mark their opposition to the hype that surrounds the pseudo-event, which Google defines as “an event arranged or brought about merely for the sake of the publicity it generates, especially one designed to appear spontaneous or unplanned.”

To any media savvy person, it is extremely apparent that these celebrities, starlets and brands use Coachella to network both in-person and through social media. Tiresome? Definitely. Unethical? In some cases. But, illegal? Not quite. In fact, the music and arts festival is known to take action against any person or entity that does illegally exploit its name or likeness for advertising/sales purposes.

A month before the festival began, on March 14, Coachella’s parent company Goldenvoice filed a lawsuit in California federal court against Urban Outfitters “for products sold and marketed under the Coachella name,” according to SPIN.

Urban Outfitters, in addition to its namesake stores, owns Free People, an upscale bohemian brand known for its festival-ready looks.

“The lawsuit alleges that Free People sold clothes specifically marketed using the word Coachella, which the festival owns as a trademark, including a ‘Bella Coachella’ line of clothes and a ‘Coachella Valley Tunic’ that has since been pulled off Free People’s website,” SPIN writes.

Furthermore, “the suit alleges that Coachella’s business selling its own branded apparel has suffered due to Free People’s use of the name, and also mentions exclusive contracts with H&M and Pandora jewelry to sell Coachella-licensed apparel.”

Free People and parent company Urban Outfitters, however, attempted to get around possible legal implications with the music and arts festival through “alleged use of  ‘Coachella’ in website URLs, metadata tags and paid Google keywords, so that products that aren’t specifically branded with the name of the festival would still turn up in searches for terms like ‘Coachella outfit.'”

“Incidentally, some parts of the suit read like Coachella is hoping that in addition to deciding the case in its favor, the judge will don his or her own fringe top and floppy hat and join them out in the desert next year,” SPIN reports.

“‘Coachella is about more than just music,’ one line [of the lawsuit] reads. ‘The festival’s venue also includes camping facilities for some 15,000 attendees (complete with a karaoke lounge and a general store), and an amazing selection of food and beverages from a wide range of restaurants. The festival also features an extensive art exhibit which includes many pieces of art (including sculpture and so-called ‘interactive’ art). The music, the food, the art and, of course, the fellowship of other attendees, taken together, makes Coachella more than just a concert to attend—it truly is an experience.’”

From the looks of this lawsuit, it seems Coachella itself has not only acknowledged, but embraced the changing scope of its famous festival. Judging by its promptness in filing lawsuits, Coachella is quick to call out companies illegally cashing in on its trademarked name and copycat-prone likeness.

Free People’s “Coachella Valley Tunic” [source: Pinterest]
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Fashion’s first backstage photographer explains new media’s effect on the industry

In a recent interview with Dazed, fashion’s first backstage photographer Guy Marineau discusses the immense changes new media has brought to the industry. After 40 years photographing fashion behind-the-scenes and candidly, Marineau, now 70-years-old, is quite possibly the only authority who can truly shed light on this subject.

It seems now that fashion shows and street style are all smoke and mirrors; an industry that was once centered around art and quality now revolves around labels and advertising.

“Before the 1990s fashion week didn’t mean anything to anyone,” Marineau tells Dazed.

“That may come as somewhat of a surprise if you have experienced what is now the fashion week norm: a narrow, Parisian street outside a show, swollen with editors and Ubers, street-style photographers and their subjects, who linger with intent, smoking with a studied aloofness,” Dazed continues.

“This exact scene is re-enacted multiple times throughout the week, roughly four times a year per fashion capital, in what is perhaps emblematic of an increasingly chaotic, ever-expanding industry.”

Christy Turlington by Guy Marineau [source: Guy Marineau]
But, things didn’t always work that way. Not too long ago, fashion week was a completely different experience. In fact, it was an experience, period. Now, the four continuous weeks that make-up fashion month are more like a serious of pseudo-events documented on social media platforms by the starlets who occupy the front rows.

According to Dazed, “it was before this pre-internet, pre-street-style era that Marineau first began to document fashion week, unwittingly creating a template for much that we now take for granted.”

As bloggers, video bloggers (“vloggers”) and social media influencers begin to sport the styles shown on the runway during fashion month, true fans of fashion long for old school editorials–not sponsored content created to get likes and views, and increase sales, on Instagram or Snapchat.

“The atmosphere in 1980s fashion shows was completely different from today. Paris was a source of inspiration, it was a free, wild city without any real competition at the time. Backstage, there weren’t many people around, just models, the designer’s team, the dresser, prop masters, two or three hairdressers, very few make-up artists. Girls would generally do their own make-up,” Marineau tells Dazed.

“There was much more freedom than now. It was an era of unaffected, relaxed, happy and rather good-looking young women who would go and have lunch with us between two fashion shows. They were far from the unhealthy-looking models of today. Backstage, models would read literature while waiting for the show to begin, but today it’s been replaced by selfies. Taking your own picture by yourself or with others has become a way of life. But who am I to judge?”

Once upon a time, models were far from household names in the United States. Today, they have millions of social media followers and fans of all ages. Not to mention, they are now synonymous with celebrities. They no longer quietly read while waiting backstage; they snap pictures with one another to post across various social media platforms, which receive thousands of views within seconds.

“Professionals and fashion cognoscenti would attend the shows without knowing much. Unless they carefully read women’s magazines, they’d only notice events on the scale of Christian Dior’s New Look,” Marineau continues.

“Today, many people have unwittingly become fashion experts. But is it normal that fashion should change so often? Can it be said that fashion is a form of art reflecting both a specific time and society?”

Kate Moss by Guy Marineau [source: Guy Marineau]
This change brought about the need for more fashion photographers. As soon as backstage photography like Marineau’s became prominent, designers saw it as a successful means of advertising. Tempted by a growth in recognition and sales, both designers and photographers began trading their creativity and craftsmanship for acceptance by the mainstream media and mainstream consumers.

“Fashion photography became a job in the mid-1970s when houses like Saint Laurent and Calvin Klein decided to turn these presentations into a bigger event to advertise their fragrances. Now, it’s still about sales, but, for me, the charm is gone,” says Marineau.

“I used to see fashion as a large playground where you could experience the highest stress or the biggest joys. But it also was a unique and authentic opportunity to express who you are.”

Once cameras become more accessible and photography became a pastime for many, fashion photography changed immensely. But, despite the advancements in technology, the number of photographers in the fashion industry shrunk from 350 to approximately 15 in a span of approximately 30 years, according to Marineau.

“Every magazine, every paper, every press agency had their own photographer. So each of them had original images, a different angle, a different light, a different shot. In the 1980s there were about 350 of us, photographers approved by the Chambre Syndicale. Today there’s only about fifteen. Now all the magazines and websites all use the same pictures–bland, processed, edited images,” Marineau says.

“That means Vogue France can contain the same photos as Elle Germany, Brazilian Bazaar or Chinese Marie-Claire”

Gisele Bündchen by Guy Marineau [source: Guy Marineau]
Not only have cameras themselves changed, photography software has, too. Now, anyone with an iPhone and the photo-editing app VSCO can make editorial-worthy images. This has led to a very monotonous array of both backstage and street style images. Airbrush and other photo-altering tools designed to remove imperfections take away the uniqueness and the charm from an individual’s images.

“For me, there’s no merit in it anymore, because it’s no longer photography, it’s informatics. Post-production has become more important than the shooting itself. Photography, photos-graphos in Greek, means ‘writing with light.’ Software takes this ability away from you. You can be a very bad photographer and a good Photoshop user, so you’ll still deliver images,” Marineau continues.

“It’s become too simple, too easy.”

Kiini settles lawsuit with notorious copycat Victoria’s Secret

Knockoffs are all too common in the world of fashion–especially now that social media allows retailers to have an inside look at their competitors’ inner workings.

The latest high-profile lawsuit, involving New York-based swimwear brand Kiini and famed lingerie powerhouse Victoria’s Secret, was settled late last month, despite the fact it was filed in October 2015.

“According to Kiini’s complaint, Victoria’s Secret produced a bathing suit that looked ‘virtually indistinguishable’ to its original bikini design. Though the terms of the settlement are confidential, the [law]suit is worth reflecting on,” The Fashion Law writes.

“Kiini, which has gained a ‘cult-like following and is known for the original, distinct, copyright-protected swimwear designs,’ initiated the action against the lingerie giant for copyright infringement, trade dress infringement, and unfair competition.”

There are tons of Kiini dupes on the online market from small web-based boutiques nowadays, but when a retail giant like Victoria’s Secret blatantly copies a high-end swimwear brand, there are several complex lessons to be learned.

Kiini original bikini [source: Lyst]
Victoria’s Secret dupe [source: Bikini Mecca]
“As Kiini set forth in its complaint, Victoria’s Secret allegedly marketed and sold an infringing copy of Kiini’s well-known bikini design ‘in the pursuit of its own self promotion and profit, and to Kiini’s unfair harm and detriment,'” The Fashion Law continues.

“The Kiini swimsuit in question–which is stocked by high end retailers, such as Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman and Net-A-Porter, and retails for $165 for a top and $120 for a bottom–has ‘become a much sought after bikini.'”

The pricey bikinis, worn in a number of editorials, as well as by celebrities like Heidi Klum and Cara Delevingne, are known for their amazing attention-to-detail and stunning bohemian design are obviously of the highest quality. Not to mention, they are ultimately a product of Ipek Irgit’s, the brand’s founder and creative director, intellectual property.

“Irgit obtained federal copyright protection for the bikini design in December 2014, making Kiini the ‘sole and exclusive owner to all right, title and interest in and to the copyright to the design,'” according to The Fashion Law.

“The brand alleges that in addition to enjoying federal copyright protection, it has developed trade dress rights, as ‘the purchasing public has come to associate the distinct Kiini trade dress with Kiini, and Kiini trade dress has achieved secondary meaning.'”

The trade dress at hand?

“[It] consists of: ‘1) a triangle profile bikini; 2) a distinctive, rectangular crochet pattern that borders the edges of the bikini; 3) the rectangular geometric pattern is doubled at the bottom edge of the bikini top, and the top edge of the bikini bottom; 4) bright color blocking resulting from a woven interlaced pattern of contrasting colored and textured material, specifically elastic and crochet yarn; and, 5) the bikini top’s upright triangle profile and the bikini bottom’s upside down triangle profile,'” according to The Fashion Law.

“For the uninitiated, trade dress extends to the total image of a product and can be based on shape, size, color, texture and graphics. In order to be eligible for trade dress protection, a design must serve as a non-functional identifier of source.”

Furthermore, “per Kiini, the triangle designs featured on the bathing suit at issue are in no way functional and that ‘the only reason to copy the Kiini trade dress is to attempt to trade off its goodwill and draw sales away from Kiini. This is exactly what [Victoria’s Secret] has unfairly and unlawfully done here.'”

Unsurprisingly, this is not Victoria’s Secret’s first rodeo. In 2012 the California-born, Ohio-based lingerie retailer was sued by Zephyrs, a hosiery supplier, for selling shoddy versions of their designs.

“Zephyrs filed a complaint in federal court in Ohio charging the lingerie behemoth with using images of its products on packaging and in-store product displays, while selling a cheaper version of the product inside,” according to The Huffington Post.

“In a nutshell, Victoria’s Secret used to sell Zephyrs’ Italian-made hosiery, but cut ties with them, switched to a Canadian supplier and allegedly didn’t change images or text on the packaging, except for adding a ‘Made In Canada.’ In addition to the $15 million for breach of contract, Zephyrs is also seeking “corrective advertising” and a recall of the accused products.”

The parties settled out of court for an undisclosed amount and “mutually agreed to dismiss the claims and counterclaims with prejudice,” according to The Fashion Law.

More recently, in 2015, Victoria’s Secret began copy-catting Triangl, another upscale swimwear brand. The distinct sporty swimsuits feature thick black lines that separate blocks of bold colors. Via social media platforms like Twitter, The Fashion Law then went on to explain that Australia-based Triangl is the one of world’s most-copied swimwear brands.

Flipping through Victoria’s Secret’s catalogs or strolling through a brick-and-mortar store, nearly anyone in the fashion or retail industries will notice the company frequently knocks-off designs from high-end brands like Kiini, Triangl and Gooseberry Intimates, a world-class French lingerie label.

“Kiini goes on to bolster its claim by stating that it is not the only one who noticed the similarities between its designs and the Victoria’s Secret copies. According to Kiini’s complaint, ‘several discerning customers have generated electronic content posted on popular social media, referring to the Victoria’s Secret copy-infringing design, and stating: ‘totally Kinii [sic] knock off,’ ‘Kiini copiers,’ and ‘Victoria’s Secret knock off Kiini,'” writes The Fashion Law.

“The complaint continues on to note that the similarities between its design and the Victoria’s Secret copy gave rise to actual confusion amongst consumers and offered evidence that consumers ‘queried on photos’ of the Victoria’s Secret copy, asking: ‘Is this a Kiini swimsuit or a Victoria’s Secret?’ Victoria’s Secret allegedly ignored the customer comments ‘chiding it for stealing the Kiini design, and they continue to intentionally market and sell their imitations.'”

Despite the number of copyright- and patent- based lawsuits Victoria’s Secret has faced, it seems the company is not slowing down its infringing design procedures. However, The Fashion Law makes an interesting point regarding the company’s practices:

“Interestingly, in the time since [Kiini] filed suit, Victoria’s Secret has folded its swimwear division entirely to focus exclusively on lingerie and loungewear.”

What’s in a meme? A look at Gucci’s newest ad campaign

Anyone who uses social media is familiar with the concept of memes. But, no one expected to see memes created and published by an esteemed high-end retailer in lieu of a traditional ad campaign.

According to Google, a meme is “a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.” Earlier this month, luxury brand Gucci began utilizing memes to advertise their newest campaign, dubbed #TFWGucci. (For those of you who are not social media savvy, “TFW” is an acronym meaning “the feel when.”)

A scroll through Gucci’s Instagram profile (@gucci) reveals a slew of popular memes repurposed and aimed at its luxury consumers. Many followers were slightly shocked to see Gucci’s memes on their Instagram feeds.

After all, “it’s kind of a well-known fact that the fashion world, particularly the luxury goods industry, has been slow to adopt technology. And then it moved at a snail’s pace to get on social media,” according to Dash Hudson, a company that focuses on Instagram return on investment (ROI) for many big-name brands.

“Luxury labels have been getting by on these platforms thanks to name recognition, but as Instagram evolves and various content trends come and go, it is indeed becoming increasingly imperative for them to start shifting their thinking toward devising social-first strategies.”

By implementing this unique strategy, Gucci instantly set itself apart from its competitors, who do not keep up with social media content trends, such as memes.

“A lot of luxury brands don’t really appear to have a concise social strategy in place and just go about it according to their HQ’s marketing activities,” Dash Hudson continues.

Luxury fashion brands tend steer clear of mainstream trends, on social media or otherwise, in order to maintain their aloof, exclusive personas. So, it is no surprise that it came as, well, a surprise, with the Italian fashion house took on the quirky trend full-force.

[source: Dash Hudson]
The second post of Gucci’s entire meme campaign features a watch showing through a torn suit sleeve, captioned “When you got that new watch and have to show it off.”

With an engagement rate of 1.34 percent, according to Dash Hudson, this post sits in second place among the Gucci account’s top 4 highest performing posts of all time–second only to another #TFWGucci post. The third and fourth place posts are not associated with this campaign.

Gucci’s highest performing post of all-time, by a margin of .21 percent, is a close-up shot of a female model adorned with what appears to be Gucci-inspired temporary tattoos. Her hand and face are covered in drawn-on tags: an Instagram feature used to identify who’s who in a given picture.

“The top 2 memes from the campaign actually became [Gucci’s] top 2 most engaged posts of all-time, dethroning [a snapshot of] the Obamas,” according to Dash Hudson.

[source: Dash Hudson]
Followers are obviously responding well to this unconventional ad campaign, but, like the old phrases says, no good deed goes unpunished. Or, in this case, uncriticized. Fashion enthusiasts all over the world took to social media (of course) to speak out on Gucci’s new campaign.

“I’m not upset that Gucci is making memes now. I’m upset because the memes are bad,” @robesman writes via Twitter.

“These Gucci memes are not funny [and] really not relatable,” adds @erikabowes.

“I’m sure it sounded dope when they were brainstorming, but Gucci’s meme campaign is one of the lamest things I’ve ever seen,” @Sipho_Says writes.

Still, some fans of the brand are unsure how they feel about its new ad campaign.

“Gucci made itself a meme account, and I can’t decide if I love it or hate it,” @rubykburns tweets.

High-end retailers are more likely to retouch images for e-commerce

If you’ve ever ordered something online and it arrived looking completely different, you are not alone. And, this is especially true if you’ve ordered from a high-end retailer like Net-A-Porter.

“In addition to Photoshopping their models, retailers Photoshop their clothes, too,” according to Galore. “At least Net-A-Porter does.”

On March 8, “Net-A-Porter accidentally uploaded a photo of a puffy coat with retouching notes on their website,” Galore continues.

[source: Cosmo]
According to the notes, the puffy coat was too puffy; “Please slim” was written with four arrows pointing towards different problem areas on the garment.

“A few hours later, Net-A-Porter realized [its] mistake and switched out the picture, but by then it was too late.”

Net-A-Porter replaced the marked-up image with a similar one; this time, however, the notes were removed and there was no apparent retouching, according to Cosmo.

“We post images that accurately represent the garments so that customers receive the product they expect,” Net-A-Porter told Cosmo in response to the incident. “This image was uploaded to our product page in error and the notes refer exclusively to the garments.”

[source: Cosmo]
It makes you wonder, if a luxury retailer like Net-A-Porter can get away with photoshopping garments that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, what are fast fashion retailers getting away with?

But, according to Marine Michel, a former a professional retoucher for a German luxury retailer similar to Net-A-Porter, high-end retailers use photoshop much more often than their low-end counterparts.

“[Low-end retailers] do it way less…I notice these things now when I go on [the] online shops,” Michel tells Galore.

“In the UK we have Boohoo, which is quite cheap, and it doesn’t look that retouched…Maybe a little bit of skin retouching, but [it is] very finely done. The same [is true] for H&M; it’s not that bad. But when you go to luxury retailers, then you realize how much they do it.”

So, what exactly do these high-end e-commerce sites retouch?

According to Michel, it is everything from stains to stitches to zippers.

“[Retouchers make] the clothes look a little better quality and [they make] the fabric look nicer…Sometimes you have this fabric cloth where you can immediately see through it from shitty online shops,” Michel continues.

“When the girl is wearing a dress and she has her legs slightly apart and you can see through the dress, you know [it] is a bad polyester fabric. Well, we would color it in so it would look like nice heavy material.”

“I mean the dress might cost 500 bucks, but it’s still shit quality, that doesn’t change anything. But we gotta sell it, so we gotta make it look good.”

Boohoo does not attempt to hide that this 100 percent viscose dress, embroidered with 100 percent polyester, is see-through, $28 [source: Boohoo]
Certainly, there is some level of unethical behavior at play here, but are these practices legal? I spoke with Sophia Bagienski-Mangual, sales manager of a small clothing company and Fashion Institute of Technology alumna, to uncover the truth.

“Photographers definitely touch the photos up big time,” Bagienski-Mangual says. Special, more flattering lighting also plays a large role in the images e-commerce websites use, she says, however, her company no longer advertises.

“When we did shoot some of our styles, we pinched them from the back to make them fit the models better. As far as better fabrics, it would depend on the item itself. If it were a polyester blend, we would [photograph] silk or another high-end fabric.”

As long as the retailers do not claim to sell garments made of silk or other luxury fabrics, they are in the clear. That is, the items’ descriptions on e-commerce sites must clearly state what exactly the customers receive when they order a garment, even if the images themselves do not match the fabric compositions listed.

“We knock-off styles all the time from high end lines; we just pick less expensive fabrics,” Bagienski-Mangual adds.

Fast fashion retailers up prices without forgoing unethical practices

Competition among fast fashion retailers has led stores like Forever 21 and Zara to increase prices without cutting back on their shady, inhumane and downright dirty design and production practices, according to The Fashion Law.

“Additionally, [thanks to] the influx and success of other similarly situated web-based retailers like Nasty Gal, Missguided and Pixie Market, the most longstanding fast fashion retailers, such as H&M, Forever 21 and Zara, are being forced to up the ante in order to attract new customers and to hang on to the ones they already have.”

This has caused fast fashion retailers to stock their shelves, both in-store and online, with higher priced goods. Stores known for their cheaply made and cheaply priced versions (i.e., copies) of runway trends now stock $70 trousers and $60 sweaters, without changing the unethical and harmful methods with which they are produced.

Adding variety to their garments in terms of price, quality and, in some cases, brand, The Fashion Law continues, helps fast fashion retailers keep up with competition. Some even stock certain pieces on Revolve.com and other non-fast fashion e-commerce websites.

Alexa Chung wearing Topshop at Topshop Unique’s Fall/Winter 2015 show [source: Who What Wear]
“Another theory centers on the fact that influencers–whether it be Alexa Chung, who has been a proponent of Topshop for years, Olivia Palermo, who is a fan of Zara or Kendall and Kylie Jenner, who have been spotted in Forever 21 and Nasty Gal garments, and have fronted their own collection for PacSun–have increased demand for street brands, thereby driving up prices,” according to The Fashion Law.

In short, it seems high fashion is not as cool or desirable as it once ways. The more young consumers see social media startlets like Kendall and Kylie Jenner shopping–and designing!–fast fashion, the more likely they are to shop fast fashion themselves. Thanks to Kendall Jenner and co., buying cheap is trendy again, and fast fashion’s accessibility ensures young people will keep consuming it.

“One major factor [in the rise of fast fashion prices] has been this real push globally by some of the fashion industry’s most influential bloggers and fashion editors, who have said to the world, ‘it’s OK to mix and match,’” says Simon Lock, owner and CEO of The Lock Group and the pioneering force behind Mercedes-Benz Australia Fashion Week.

“It’s OK to wear a Chloe top with a pair of Zara or H&M jeans. With that has come a certain amount of prestige that is then associated with these fast fashion brands and as a result, consumers are willing to pay more for it.”

Lock is not alone in believing this theory. In fact, it is an idea he has in common with Anna Wintour, esteemed Editor-in-Chief of Vogue magazine.

Bercu on the cover of Wintour’s first Vogue, November 1988 [source: Vogue]
“[Wintour’s] first-ever Vogue cover, from the November 1988 issue, featured model Michaela Bercu in a Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele-styled look of a haute couture Christian Lacroix jacket and stonewashed Guess jeans,” according to The Fashion Law.

The Christian Lacroix jacket, Wintour revealed in 2012, came with a matching skirt. But, Bercu gained a little weight prior to her photoshoot with Vogue–she had been on vacation at home in Israel–so the skirt did not fit her.

“It was so unlike the studied and elegant close-ups that were typical of Vogue’s covers back then, with tons of makeup and major jewelry. This one broke all the rules. Michaela wasn’t looking at you, and worse, she had her eyes almost closed. Her hair was blowing across her face. It looked easy, casual, a moment that had been snapped on the street, which it had been, and which was the whole point,” Wintour continued, reflecting on the issue on Vogue’s 120th anniversary.

“I had just looked at that picture and sensed the winds of change. And you can’t ask for more from a cover image than that.”

It seems Wintour was ahead of her time.

Teen Vogue employees face backlash after making racist remarks on Twitter

Teen Vogue employees Lara Witt and Lauren Duca are under scrutiny after posting racially insensitive and downright hateful remarks on Twitter. On March 18, Witt (@Femmefeministe) wrote, “Also white people are evil. Whiteness is evil.”

Duca’s (@laurenduca) remarks came nearly a year earlier when she wrote, “Friendly reminder that there’s an uneven playing field, and straight, white men are generally trash,” on May 27, 2016. Both Witt and Duca have verified Twitter accounts.

[source: Twitter user @Femmefeministe]
[source: Twitter user @laurenduca]
Teen Vogue’s website lists Witt as an author and Duca as a weekend editor. While both face a ton of backlash via Twitter from Teen Vogue fans and critics alike (more on that later!), Heat Street noticed something suspect about Witt in particular. In an article titled “Feminist writer Lara Witt’s very un-woke Twitter history,” Joe Simonson points out several cases in which the Teen Vogue author spewed highly hypocritical sentiments.

“Witt is a master at this social justice warrior pastime…When she’s not writing riveting columns at publications like Teen Vogue entitled ‘What I learned from DAPL protestors as a woman of color,’ or ‘Stop weaponizing ciracial children,’ at Wear Your Voice Magazine she’s letting the internet know just how terrible everybody and everything is,” Simonson writes.

“But what about Witt herself?  Has she always acted with the same kind of purity she demands from others?”

When it comes to body shaming, a concern among feminists, Witt is guilty of it herself.

Per Heat Street, Witt tweeted, “Nothing bothers me more than ignorant people who think they’re smart. Well, that and fat people who take up [two] seats [on] the bus,” on April 12, 2011.

A little over a year later, Witt wrote, “The number of women in Philly that are in their early 20s and overweight is alarming. #America.”

Witt also took to Twitter to criticize a man’s outfit choice on a city street: “Come on, dude, it’s the city, put on some fucking shoes and decent attire. Fat, lazy American,” she wrote on May 30, 2012. She also included a snapshot of the man and his friend, which they clearly did not know was being taken.

[source: Twitter user @Femmefeministe via Heat Street]
Slut-shaming is another hot button issue about which feminists preach ad nauseam. Of course a social justice warrior and liberal like Witt would never participate in such misogynistic behavior–at least, that is what she wants her followers to believe.

On January 4, Witt tweeted, “You’re shamed for any sense of sexual agency and pleasure. I can’t tell you how many times I was called a whore when I was only 18.”

Simonson notes, “What about dangerous and violent gendered language against women? Surely someone like Lara would never slut-shame, right? It’s not like she’s specifically written articles attacking people who slut shamed Kim Kardashian.”

But, five years earlier she slut-shamed a fellow woman. “Wait, what?! #KimKardashian only got married for publicity? What groundbreaking news. I didn’t know she wasn’t an attention whore,” Witt wrote on October 31, 2011.

According to Simonson, “[Witt] at least she recognizes the problematic nature of using the word crazy, right?  She frequently writes columns centered around mental health and wellness.”

Not exactly. On September 15, 2011 she tweeted, “Hearing this woman’s bed bug issue while [on] the bus is driving me crazy.”

Lastly, Witt took to Twitter not once, but twice to bash “fat, male, slutty Jews,” according to Simonson.

“I find it despicable that some Jewish figures are decrying rockets being launched at them. Israel has the means to protect itself,” she tweeted on July 29, 2014.

In response to her own tweet, Witt also wrote, “Gaza has no way to protect itself from the very government that has kept it handicapped for years. Gaza is oppressed; Israel is a terrorist.”

But, let’s get back to backlash both Witt and Duca are currently facing on the social media platform. In a March 19 tweet highlighting both aforementioned racist remarks by the two Teen Vogue employees, an account called Tennessee (@TEN_GOP) wrote, “Hey @TeenVogue, care to comment on blatant racism from your employees?” Teen Vogue has yet to respond publicly.

@AM_Gwynn responds, “@TEN_GOP @TeenVogue Perhaps this needs the attention of a hate crime agency?” and “This should go viral. Teen Vogue prefers protecting real racists over profit and reputation? This is not acceptable.

@PrettyFru writes, “@TEN_GOP @TeenVogue I’m just about to my limit with this hypocrisy! Never be apologetic for being ANY color–it wasn’t your choice.”

@jtoufas says, “@TEN_GOP @TeenVogue, “Both of these tweets sound ignorant. Why does the color of skin mean anything?”

Lastly, @indigoblue65 writes, “@TEN_GOP @TeenVogue Shocked you’re allowing such hateful, racist people to write for such an influential [magazine] for teens!”

That’s not all, though. A simple search for Witt or Duca’s account on Twitter’s app or website yields a ton of criticism aimed directly at the young writers.