fashion london magazine

10

Swinging London 1967,
complete series of photos of the magazine “Paris Match” on the psychedelic fashion in London. October 1967. Jane Birkin appears in two photos. Photos by Philippe Le Tellier (Paris Match)

G*psy Prêt-à-porter: A collection of misuse and misinformation

With 2017 London Fashion Week well underway, shows are going political—and being the human rights, economic empowerment devotees we are, could not be more proud. Only thing is, when will the universe of couture finally understand our battle?

Generally intended to express colourful, carefree, bohemian style, the word gypsy is thrown around loosely in the fashion world. From brand names and labels, to standard industry jargon, the word has through time entrenched itself deep within the bowels of the trade. It is no dernier cri. In 2010, Kate Moss posed for a questionable 2010 V Magazine editorial by stylist Karen Langley and photographer Ian Kell entitled “Kate & the Gypsies” while John Galliano, Anna Sui, and countless others included interpretations of the “gypsy” in their ready-to-wear repertoires. In May 2015, Urban Outfitters came under another wave of harsh and well-deserved criticism, notably in the Twittersphere, for coming out with a graphic tee that wrote: Gypster—a hybrid between “gypsy” and “hipster.” Being a “gypster” was defined on the t-shirt as someone who is wild, free-spirited, and, of course, “always on the move.”

Yet, it appears the conversation that started in 2015 died a quick and painless death, as the term steadily resurfaced with little to no backlash at all. For instance, the gender-neutral brand Gypsy Sport led by designer Rio Uribe has been a complete hit on the catwalk this year. Allure Magazine described it as a “Champion for diversity.” Last fall, Kenzo showcased what was described by media as their “gypsy” silhouette dresses on the H&M runway, while the Duchess of Cambridge sported an Alexander McQueen dress inspired by the “intricately beautiful floral patterns seen painted on gypsy caravans and canal barges in the British countryside.”

What appear as celebrations of the “gypsy” are in fact misconstrued representations of Rromani people that insidiously work to continue patterns of discrimination and marginalization today. “Gypsy” is much more than just a word. There are meanings, implications, identities and consequences involved in using the term—meanings the fashion world has carelessly neglected. Don’t get us wrong, centuries-worth of misinformation and typecasting do not help by any means.

First and foremost, the word g*psy is derogatory. It was originally used to characterize a person of Rromani origin based on the mistaken belief that Rromani people came from Egypt. The term increasingly became synonymous with someone who cheats, steals, or for lack of a better term, “gyp.” To be clear, it is a racial slur. The fact that some Rromani identify themselves with the term and do not take offence to it does not make its use any less derogatory, as there is a large percentage of the population that doesn’t feel the same.

It would be foolish to deny that its meaning has evolved in certain social realms. In the fashion industry, many designers and consumers do not use it or interpret it negatively per se. The problem is that there are still many places in the world where it is still used to discriminate and dehumanize people of Rromani origin.

When Vivienne Westwood used Rromani models in her spring/summer 2009 tolerance-themed menswear show to illustrate the minority as the “rough, stylish and hardened outcasts of society,” she received criticism from many. At the time, Milan’s assessor for industry and fashion and ex-Forza Italia MP, Tiziana Maiolo, publicly stated that “there is no chance for integration while the men play cards instead of working and the women and children steal and beg.” She also proposed to guide Vivienne on a tour of the nomad camps to prove just how outdated her “romanticized” perception of Rromani is.

That kind of reaction is no surprise. The rise of right-wing populism in Europe has since intensified and the Rromani population, among other minorities, are paying for it. There is a lot wrong with this whole picture that ought to be corrected. For one thing, over 90% of Roma are sedentary. The stereotypes of nomadism perpetuated by dominant political classes have served as a direct tool of marginalization and segregation. The camps or campi nomadi mentioned by Signora Maiolo, were established by the Italian government to appease the so-called cultural nomadism of the Rromani population. Let me repeat, over 90% of Roma are sedentary. The living conditions of these camps are squalid and fall beneath human right standards, yet governments around the world have blamed Rromani, as if they want to live this way.

When the fashion industry perpetuates the stereotype of nomadism in Rromani culture, they feed into and legitimize a legacy of discrimination. It’s worth pointing out that 10% of Rromani are nomadic, but it certainly does not stem from a romantic free-spirited idea, but was adopted as a means of survival. Still today, in schools across Western and Eastern Europe, Rromani children are segregated. Access to education remains a serious concern, as do access to healthcare and employment. Acts of violence and hate crimes against Rromani are also on the rise, while even the Canadian government refuses to publicly recognize the Roma Genocide where half a million Rromani were murdered under the Nazi regime during WWII. Years of political rhetoric and misinformation have dehumanized the Rromani population.

Giving into such stereotypes sends a strong message to the Rromani community. When designers, companies and journalists use the term g*psy to describe a brand or particular collection as nomadic, wild and free-spirited for their own commercial benefit, they neglect the real and continuing plight of Rromani and unintentionally reinforce their stigmatization. Let’s remember that there is not a single sphere where being Rromani is embraced or praised. Even brands that claim to be inclusive have no real interest in battling stereotypes and changing the status quo.

Fashion is often an expression of a designer’s creativity and identity. Therefore, fashion that misconstrues an identity by celebrating this ill-informed interpretation of g*psy culture is highly problematic and in this case, ignorant. For centuries, Rromani communities have suffered persecution, hatred, and violence. By romanticizing the plight of Rromani communities, the fashion industry demonstrates its ignorance and ultimately neglects the fact that Roma are people. It is time for the powerful and highly influential fashion industry to be cognizant of the world around it, and stop reducing a people to a trend.

Cristina Ruscio & Dafina Savic

model: Kate Moss - photography: Alasdair Mclellan - styling: Alister Mackie - hair: Anthony Turner - makeup: Lucia Pica - manicure: Lorraine Griffin - Another F/W 2014

  • brocade suit from The Contemporary Wardrobe Collection, London; metallic blouse from Mairead Lewin Vintage, London

M.U.I   M A K E - U P   M A G A Z I N E  

If you’re into all things makeup then I can’t recommend this magazine enough!

From reading my creative makeup breakdowns to watching my makeup tutorials you’ll know I’m an avid fan of Kryolan UK products.
My makeup kit originated in college back in 2003 and everything was supplied by Kryolan Professional Make-up, that’s where my love started.

On the walls in our makeup classroom hung posters of wild and wacky makeup looks by Kryolan artists. Everything they produced left me feeling inspired as a makeup artist, and the brand still has that effect on me now.
Whether it’s the content created for this magazine, or, the astounding creations for their annual calendars, you will always be left in awe by the talents that represent Kryolan. 

Back in my college days Kryolan were apart of Charles Fox and I used to visit their Covent Garden store (which is now their Kryolan Store) and I was like a child at Christmas. My eyes would light up and I would feel giddy with excitement as I perused the shelves desperate to play with every single item.
I have always gravitated towards the SFX (Special FX) products more than the beauty ones. Something about seeing fake moustaches and foam latex noses lights a fire in my belly, and the inner artist in me instantly want to completely transform someones face! There’s no place like Kryolan at Halloween… Oh, except for my makeup room of course ;) 

SO… Kryolan have released issue 4 of their M.U.I magazine and it’s brilliant, especially if you’re looking to further educate yourself on makeup or just learn more about the brand.
Paul Merchant (Head of Make-Up and Make-Up Design at Kryolan UK) has created some inspiring looks within the magazine and has produced a step-by-step guide on how to achieve these looks. 
I’d recommend it for both aspiring MUAs and industry professionals alike, it’s packed full of tips and tricks.

I’d personally recommend reading the article about ‘Skin Tones and Skin Undertones!’ as it’s very informative, and important if you’re looking to get into makeup or brush up on your colour theory. Even if you’re just a makeup lover, when it comes to choosing the right foundation for you it’s essential you understand the undertone of your skin.

M.U.I magazine retails at just £5.95, and for the invaluable information it provides you with it’s a bargain! 

This is not a sponsored post, I just felt it was well worth sharing with you all. 
You can purchase the magazine in-store or via their website ‘here’.

Maudie James in John Bates for Jean Varon, photographed by David Bailey for Vogue, 1967