Fashion icon Tom Ford says cancel culture restricts creativity
Legendary designer Tom Ford isn’t an outright opponent of ‘cancel-culture,’ but he reckons that the modern left’s zero-tolerance attitude to “cultural appropriation” is making it “tough to be creative.”
Flogging clothing and fragrances from his eponymous design house and after stints as creative director for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford is one of the best-known names in the world of fashion. However, he sees troubling times ahead for his industry.
“There is a zero-tolerance policy, which is great in many ways but very difficult to manage if you are a public person or if you are running a company,” he told the Evening Standard on Wednesday.
“Yves Saint Laurent would never have been able to do a Chinese collection, a peasant collection” amid the current furor over “cultural appropriation,” he explained. "As a designer, of course we always appropriated things from a lot of different cultures, but it was seen as a form of celebration... now you have to think twice because it can be called out as appropriation."
Designers like Ford have long drawn inspiration from the colors, fabrics and styles of different ethnicities. However, the industry has been heavily criticized by ‘woke’ types for copying and repackaging these traditional styles – a practice they say is exploitative.
French designer Isabel Marant was accused of plagiarising the traditional costume of a Mexican community in 2015, and Gucci faced backlash a year later for dressing white models in Sikh-style turbans. Even vaguely Asian-looking eye makeup has been decried as racist by the mainstream media.
“It’s gotten tough to be creative,” Ford claimed. “Actually it has gotten very hard to be spontaneous, I think, in today’s world because you have to rethink yourself.”
Ford is not the first celebrity to publicly denounce “cancel culture” as of late. “No one’s allowed to speak their mind right now,” pop singer Madonna told V magazine earlier this month. “No one's allowed to say what they really think about things for fear of being canceled… In cancel culture, disturbing the peace is probably an act of treason. We could start right there, and then we can just talk about our work as artists."
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