Stefano Gabbana has responded to criticism surrounding a pair of sneakers with “I’m Thin & Gorgeous” written on them with graffiti.
Taking to Instagram, the designer shared a video from the television show Absolutely Fabulous, featuring characters Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) saying the phrase. “I’M THI AND GORGEOUS I’M THIN AND GORGEOUS I’M THIN AND GORGEOUS … ’90 Absolutely Fabulous … x you haters … my fav tv series …” he wrote in the caption.
He also posted a series of images capturing multiple headlines on the topic. “thank you for make us more popular with your stupid article,” he said.
Fans of the brand also defended the design online. “For goodness sake – get a sense of humour!” Debbie.rutter wrote. “Do you look for the worst in EVERY situation?! Will you be boycotting @stefanogabbana next? I’m SO bored with this stuff. Get a life!”
When Gabbana first posted the image of the shoes by Japanese artist Jumpei Kawamura on Instagram, the majority of the comments actually included hearts and “Love!” But many followers were quick to point out the issue with the wording and found it problematic.
“You don’t think it’s a little unresponsible [sic] to push a message of ‘Thin and gorgeous’? I hope this will be followed by a message of inclusion of all bodies?” asked anna.elisabeth,olsson on Instagram.
“Thin?! I’m disappointed!” rossy_rl said.
In addition to the pop culture reference, the sneakers are accompanied by other sassy phrases, like “Sorry, I’m the best” and “More, more and more,” with the wording seemingly taking a funny look at the confidence of youth. They are designed to “reflect Millennial style,” according to the editors of Vogue France.
The humorous intent behind the shoes doesn’t necessarily cancel out the fact that messages like this are a contributing factor of eating disorders, according to Claire Mysko, CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).
“Though there may be an element of cheeky humor at play in the design of these sneakers, equating thinness and beauty with success and status is a message that hurts everyone,” Mysko told Yahoo Style via email. “The fashion industry has a long history of glamorizing the thin ideal, and this message is one more example of the industry’s insistence on placing thinness on a pedestal. From billboards to social media, we live in a media-saturated environment that shapes how we see ourselves and others. When the prevailing message is thin is good, gorgeous is good, that becomes our priority, often at the expense of our health and well-being.”
Earlier this year, Gabbana called himself out for body-shaming. After Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Halftime show, he posted a photo of the singer in her stomach-baring costume to Instagram. “I know it’s strange, but finally something real not retouched!” he wrote. “The truth, reality. Yesterday I criticized it too, but I though about it and I was wrong!!”
This kind of awareness is something Mysko wishes were more prevalent in the fashion industry.
“There is a clear demand for messaging and imagery that is more representative of all kinds of beauty, and the fashion industry would be wise to update their practices to reflect these values,” she said. “Fashion has the unique opportunity to catalyze change and celebrate every body, and while we’ve seen some brands making progress, there is still work to be done.”
For information on getting help for eating disorders, visit MyNEDA.org, or call the live help line (800) 931-2237.
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