What I took away from Resort ‘18
Sitting down to write a roundup this resort season, I found myself in an inescapable ennui of sorts. It wasn’t the fashion’s fault – there was myriad of thoughtful design to go around; Karl turned Paris into Ancient Greece and Maria Chiuri went oh so sauvage at Dior. But I couldn’t ignore the notion that something was trending, and it was much more pressing than boho fringe. It wasn’t the hemlines or the palettes, or even the exotic locales. All eyes were on Ulrikke Hoyer, the Danish model that shared her story of mistreatment by a casting director at Louis Vuitton’s Tokyo show last week. Her depiction of the incident described being cut last minute from the show after being told to ‘drink only water for 24 hours’ as she was ‘too big’ for their look. Within hours of publishing the account to her Instagram and Facebook profiles, the story had gone completely viral.
The media frenzy that followed Hoyer’s post wasn’t the usual falsified activism, but instead had a very visceral reaction for some. In a move that could prove detrimental to their advertisers, many fashion media outlets boldly responded by calling out Vuitton’s casting directors Ashley Brokaw and Alexia Cheval and placing direct blame on the individuals present during the incident. Putting faces to names, there was no way to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. Hoyer’s brutal honesty humanized the account, and it was relatable for so many others.
Her experience is all too common: the exploitation of models at luxury fashion houses, the pressures from casting directors to maintain unrealistic body standards. These issues have been prevalent for decades, and until recently when casting director and activist for model reform laws, James Scully, publicly vowed to improve the standards of model treatment, they’ve remained relatively under the radar, with creative directors and industry insiders turning their cheek to the matter. It has been normalized, ignored, and perpetuated. Not anymore.
This story signaled a collective energy far more important than any catwalk – a united sympathy that has long been absent in an industry oft described as cold and vapid. The flood of support and attention signifies a current of change, a professional mindfulness and the desire to encourage respect in fashion. In our creative industry, courage and the willingness to take a chance are a winning combination. That rule applies across the board, including speaking up for what’s right. Our mission as a brand is to tell the stories of the evolving generation in hopes to influence conscious practice. Ulrikke Hoyer’s bravery is a step in the right direction. This season, activism is in. So don’t be a dick.