Monday, January 31, 2011


Michelle Obama found herself at the centre of a controversy around her choice to wear Alexander McQueen rather than an American designer at a recent state dinner. Like princess-to-be Kate Middleton in the UK, American Designers want prominent Americans to support them, so wearing Alexander McQueen rather than Oscar De La Renta (who has been the most vocal on this issue) or some other American designer has sent tempers sky rocketing. What word did they use? Oh, yes- "disappointing" is how Council of Fashion Designers of America president Diane Von Furstenberg put it.
One blog post by Cathy Horyn of The New York Times that I've just read points out the hypocrisy. A lot of these designers (bar De La Renta perhaps) have no leg to stand when it comes to issues of American pride, so to speak. A lot of their business is outsourced to China, leaving New York's Garment District in a state of economic peril.
As the Fashion District in central Johannesburg comes to life with the first day of Joburg Fashion Week next month (the day Fashion Kapitol officially opens) designers in Johannesburg ought to learn from this. They need to ask the question; how do we, in our own small way, contribute to social good and the economic well being of the city we call our home. It is in everyone's interest to make the vision of rescucitating the fashion disctrict in Johannesburg back to good health and I hope fashion stakeholders will not see it as the sole responsibility of government as the Americans have sought to corner their First Lady.
Read Cathy Horyn's analysis on this controversy here.


Maque DeGorgeous said...

HA! this is why I read this blog!!

Thanks for another beautiful piece!

While they are correct to urge their first lady to support their home-grown talent (to an event of such calibre), it is also important that designers reinvest in their own.

LOVE the controversy!

Sandiso Ngubane said...

I've been enjoying the controversy too. People must always, in my humble opinion, lead by example. Always!