Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Can fanciful fashion become a force for good?

This is the opening question in a NYT article covering a recent high-profile “music event” dubbed “Sound of Change Live. The concert “was organized by the Chime for Change women’s campaign and underwritten by Gucci, once known as a brand of soft shoes and hard partying but now aiming to bring attention to women’s rights to education, justice and health.” The event was promoted by Salma Hayek, whose husband, François-Henri Pinault, has made it a mission for his luxury group, formerly PPR, but now named Kering, to support best practices in his own empire — and to support Chime for Change, a women’s empowerment initiative.

So can a fashion empire become a credible force for female emancipation and empowerment? Salma Hayek, her husband, and the many female celebrity performers (plus a few activists) who “chimed in” at the Gucci-sponsored event say so. And the whole fashion industry would love to get this message across in the aftermath of the recent garment factory debacle in Bangladesh. The NYT piece itself is rather sympathetic, and the points it makes seem reasonable. Unless you become slightly nauseated as you read it – and look at the accompanying images.