And – as Jessica Quillin, PhD, a fashion strategist and co-owner of It’s A Working Title, LLC, a boutique luxury strategy agency and think tank – tells GLAMOUR, the noose symbol is “suggestive of the long, brutal history of lynching or hanging of African-Americans in the United States.”
“In the age of social media, fashion brands, designers, and their army of associated celebrities and influencers are in a major position to impact people and enact social change, either for the good or the ill,” explains Quillin. In this case, fashion brands have a “responsibility not to glamourise suicide, self-harm and eating disorders.”
It’s a huge disappointment to see such a controversial accessory reappear in public discourse – especially when worn by someone like Jenner, who enormously influences current beauty and fashion trends.
Although the fashion industry has made great strides in diversity and inclusion, the shock factor still supersedes any expectations of nuance or respect. As Quillin tells GLAMOUR, “It is just straight up myopic to send an accessory down the runway one year (and putting it on Kylie Jenner the next year) that is suggestive of a violent act and of one of the most painful chapters in Black history in the United States.”
As well as being grossly culturally insensitive, Givenchy’s decision to create a fashion accessory out of a symbol associated with suicide (and Jenner’s decision to wear it) simultaneously trivialises and glamourises a serious issue.
A spokesperson for Mind told GLAMOUR: “In 2021, there were 5,583 suicides registered in England and Wales (ONS), and we know that many more people attempt suicide or experience suicidal feelings.
“It’s really important that we have open, respectful and safe conversations about suicide. And a key part of talking about suicide safely, as the Samaritans’ best practice guidelines, is to avoid reporting methods of suicide and to avoid showing glamorised depictions of suicide.
“For anyone currently struggling with suicidal feelings, Mind’s information has some suggestions for getting support: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/suicidal-feelings/about-suicidal-feelings/”
GLAMOUR UK has reached out to Kylie Jenner and Givenchy for a comment. This article will be kept updated.
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