The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Little Red Riding Vogue: Why I don’t watch shows like “Fashion Police”


As someone interested in fashion, I think a lot of people expect me to watch shows like “Fashion Police.” While I am prone to getting sucked into “America’s Next Top Model” and “Project Runway” marathons, I’ve never been interested in a show that aims to tear people down. One of my least favorite things about the fashion industry is its need to raise up some people while they destroy others. Why do things like “Who Wore it Better” even exist? Why can’t two people wear the same outfit and both be beautiful?

Well it seems I’m not the only one struggling with “Fashion Police.” Recently they’ve gotten a lot of flack for an atrocious comment made at the Oscars. The comment was made about Zendaya—an actress, singer, and dancer.

Zendaya emerged on the red carpet in a beautiful, sleek, ivory gown by Vivienne Westwood. In my opinion, she looked incredible—like what I imagine Greek goddesses to look like. She was dressed and carried herself with so much class. As someone previously unfamiliar with her work, I would have honestly assumed she was just a model or rock royalty. Even Vogue agreed. They said it best, stating, “Oh, what a difference a serious red-carpet moment can make! If you didn’t know who Zendaya was before tuning in to the 87th Annual Academy Awards tonight, well, you will now: The lissome and lovely Disney actress and pop singer caused a stir on the red carpet in a figure-hugging ivory-toned Vivienne Westwood slip of a goddess gown, replete with flowing dreadlocks: one part Lisa Bonet, one part Venus de Milo, and all very grown up (which is to say, all very un-Disney).” In brief, she was stunning.

However, the “Fashion Police” didn’t seem to agree. The show’s host, Giuliana Rancic decided that Zendaya’s look was worthy of racial profiling—due to her beautiful, dreadlocked hair. Rancic said clearly, “I feel that she smells like patchouli oil…or weed. Yeah, maybe weed.”

Many of the people on the show laughed. Notably though, Kelly Osbourne showed some discomfort and instead of laughing, put her hand to her head in shock. This comes as no surprise now that Osbourne has made it clear that she is leaving the show due to that comment. What began with a barrage of angry tweets aimed at the show (to clear her name and her stance on the situation with her fans), has now lead to an official statement.  Within her tweets, Osbourne explained that she and Zendaya were friends and that she does, “not condone racism.”

Since the airing of the show and the backlash, Rancic has tried backpedalling as much as possible. She began by saying she meant the comment as a critique of the “bohemian chic” style. Then she told “Access Hollywood” that she wasn’t even the one who wrote the joke.

Zendaya has since accepted this apology, stating that she hoped it would be, “a learning experience for [Rancic] and for the network.”

However, Zendaya’s first, immediate statement to the comments was without a doubt the strongest statement made during this debacle. In an image she posted on her various social media outlets, Zendaya stood up for herself and her dreadlocks. She listed many incredibly successful and intelligent people with dreadlocks and insisted that none of them smelled like patchouli oil or weed.

While I agree with Zendaya and hope that everyone involved learns from this, I don’t think there was enough coverage on the fact that Kylie Jenner recently got dreadlocks and her hair was described as edgy and cool. Not only does that support cultural appropriation, but it creates a double standard that if the originators of the style have it, it’s gross or dirty, but if cultural appropriators have it, it’s desirable or stylish. This is where I lose some interest in the fashion industry. It’s about time they wake up and fix this broken system.

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