Style & Beauty

The 6 Most Controversial Fashion Moments Of 2018

We don't care to forget Melania Trump's Zara jacket.
12/05/2018 05:45am ET

This year brought us no shortage of fashion controversies.

In June, we highlighted seven fashion and beauty brands that dug themselves into a hole in 2018. But, of course, they weren’t the only ones. As the year went on, more controversies emerged, leaving us shaking our heads on the regular.

Unsurprisingly, Dolce & Gabbana was among the brands sparking criticism, as was Victoria’s Secret and Revolve.

Below, check out six more blunders that ruled the fashion news cycle in 2018:

1. The Zara Jacket Seen ’Round The World

Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

Melania Trump is no stranger to controversy, especially when it comes to her outfit choices. She faced criticism for the sky-high stilettos she wore to Texas following Hurricane Harvey, she was called out for gardening in Balmain, and, most notably, she sparked outrage this summer when she wore a Zara jacket with the words “I Really Don’t Care Do U?” printed across the back. In what many considered a very calculated move, the first lady wore the jacket while on her way to visit a detention center in Texas that was housing immigrant children who were separated from their parents at the Mexican border.

On Twitter, people called FLOTUS’ choice of outerwear “inappropriate” and “callous and unacceptable” and even compared her to the devil. Meanwhile, her press secretary claimed it was “just a jacket.”

2. Dolce & Gabbana’s “Great Show” Debacle

Carlos Tischler via Getty Images

In November, Dolce & Gabbana canceled a Shanghai fashion show, just as it was scheduled to start, after being accused of racism.

The controversy started after the luxury label shared videos on Instagram in which an Asian model attempted to eat Italian food with chopsticks. The videos were meant to promote the Shanghai event, which the brand had dubbed “The Great Show,” but instead they sparked anger online.

Users on the Chinese social media platform Weibo accused the label of trivializing Chinese culture and presenting a racist view of women. To make matters even worse, it appeared Stefano Gabbana, one of the brand’s co-founders, was responding to upset commenters online with offensive insults. He later claimed his account, and the account of the brand, had been hacked.

Gabbana, and fellow co-founder Domenico Dolce, have since apologized for the debacle in a video posted online and in a statement shared on Instagram.

3. Victoria’s Secret Boss’s Shady Comments

Ahead of the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show air date, brand exec Ed Razek spoke to Vogue magazine about the annual spectacle and received plenty of criticism in return.

Not only did he shade competing intimates brand ThirdLove ― which prompted founder Heidi Zak to take out a full-page, open-letter ad in The New York Times (above) ― he also implied that no one wanted to see a plus-size fashion show and didn’t think transgender models should be included on the runway because it “is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special.” (He later apologized for the remark.)

Needless to say, plenty of folks on Twitter, including trans model Carmen Carrera, criticized both Razek and VS after the interview was published.

4. Revolve Misses The Mark With “Being Fat Is Not Beautiful” T-Shirt

In September, model Tess Holliday called out online retailer Revolve after it advertised a sweatshirt with the words “Being fat is not beautiful it’s an excuse” printed on the front. The body-positive advocate shared a screenshot of the garment on Twitter, writing, “LOLLLLL @REVOLVE y’all are a mess.” Others online questioned how the shirt made it onto the website in the first place.

According to Revolve, which released a statement to People following the controversy, the shirt was part of a collaboration with LPA that was meant to provide “commentary on the modern day ‘normality’ of cyberbullying and the shared desire to create a community for those most affected by the epidemic.”

The brand was also set to donate proceeds from the collection ― Suki Waterhouse and Lena Dunham (who addressed the controversy on Instagram) were collaborators ― to charity but ended up pulling the whole thing following the criticism. They attempted to save face by making good on their word to donate to charity, giving $20,000 to Girls Write Now, an organization that “mentors underserved young women to find their voices through the power of writing and community.”

5. Fashion Designer Silvia Ulson Accused Of Plagiarism

Bfyne/Getty
One of Bfyne's swimsuits on the left and a swimsuit by Silvia Ulson on the right.

Swimwear label Bfyne accused Brazilian fashion designer Silvia Ulson of plagiarism after seeing Ulson’s collection at Miami Swim Week this summer.

A rep for Bfyne told HuffPost about the similarities between its “Sahara” collection, which took inspiration from the brand’s Nigerian culture, and Ulson’s collection, which was apparently inspired by indigenous Brazilian cultures. On top of that, Ulson’s show featured mostly white models wearing the African-inspired swimsuits paired with Native American-inspired feathered headdresses.

The whole scenario was just another reminder that plagiarism and appropriation still exist in fashion, and, no, they are not OK.

6. Gigi Hadid’s “Blackface” Blunder

Fashion doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to blackface. Every year, it seems a new blackface controversy surfaces, with a new model at the center.

This year, it was Gigi Hadid, who appeared on the cover of Vogue Italia sporting what some saw as a suspiciously dark tan. As BBC pointed out, many of Hadid’s followers were quick to point out her darkened appearance in the image, which was shot by Steven Klein. Others flat out called the image blackface.

The criticism prompted the 23-year-old model to apologize. She shared a statement on Twitter along with a photo of herself post-shoot, with bronze makeup still on her face.

Fashion and Beauty Brand Controversies