Never ones to brush anything under the rug, the designers behind Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana are playing into the cries of their critics, urging them to boycott the company. In the new protest mode of choice in the fashion industry, Dolce & Gabbana is selling expensive t-shirts that read #BOYCOTT DOLCE & GABBANA.
The $245 shirts are currently available on Dolce & Gabbana’s website, alongside a short film of Italian protesters wearing the shirts during a demonstration against the company. The company’s founders and creative directors, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, are among the protesters depicted in the video.
The shirts come on the heels of Instagram posts from Gabbana in support of First Lady Melania Trump. Last month, in particular, Gabbana took to Instagram to highlight Trump’s Dolce & Gabbana outfits during her recent overseas trip, which caused no shortage of controversy amongst Instagram users. In one of his posts, Gabbana called out “haters,” urging them to boycott the brand – by buying a t-shirt, in what appears to be fashion’s latest attempt to profit from the state of the Trump presidency.
(If you are unsure how eager people are to profit from the political status of the U.S., in particular, consider how many people have rushed to trademark offices across the world to register "Covfefe" in order to have a monopoly over the Trump-tweeted-word).
D&G’s boycott tees may be a new product for the Italian mega-brand but they are just the latest political/activism-leaning wares to join a whole slew of other products in the tokenism that surrounds fashion’s other favorite causes, including feminism, human rights, unity, and the general message of protest/resistance. All of these causes have been given the fashion treatment (aka embodied on expensive garments - such as $710 Dior "We Should All Be Feminists" tees and $90 "Protest" tanks tops from Opening Ceremony - and sold) in recent seasons.
This movement in general – whether intentionally opportunistic or not – is questionable for a number of reasons, including but certainly not limited to the fact that true protest or “action” does not consist of buying a designer sweatshirt and calling it a day, despite what Opening Ceremony, Christian Dior, and co., would like you to believe.
The funny thing surrounding the push for politically-motivated garments and accessories is that many brands - while initially aiming to profit from the products - do not stand to earn much from them at all, as public cries of opportunism and poor taste have forced many brands to change their stance. Both Dior and Opening Ceremony, for instance, have gone back on their initial messaging in connection with their wares, announcing - after the fact - that they will donate the proceeds of such sales to charity.