The war in Ukraine upsets everyone, except for Fashion Week: fashion is indignant only on social media

The war in Ukraine upsets everyone, except for Fashion Week: fashion is indignant only on social media

Between Milano e Kiev there are 2 thousand km away. But they look like two different galaxies. Here the Fashion Week animates the city with its carousel of fashion shows, international stars, parties and dinners. There, people seek shelter from the bombs, put their children on a bus trying to get them to safety, desperately try to escape. IS war. The news of the Russian invasion of Ukraine came in the middle of the fashion shows, while Milan was celebrating the restart after the pandemic. From that moment on, everything became surreal for those who, like me, work there at the shows. But obviously not for the fashion world which, net of some emotional posts on Instagram, has chosen not to stop, not even for a minute of silence.

This Fashion Week it opened under the best auspices: spring arrived in Milan early and turning between the various shows Covid seemed only a distant memory. In the air there was the desire to turn the page and return to enjoy the beauty, the fun, the life. We went to bed on Wednesday full of optimism and woke up on Thursday to the news of the Russian invasion. It had been talked about for days, but we all realized it when it was already a reality, when the war was underway and the sirens sounded in the streets of Kiev. From this part of the world, the lucky one, many will have felt a sense of fear, helplessness, anguish. But for me, sitting and watching the shows as if nothing had happened was surreal. In literature it is called estrangement: I looked at the collective euphoria, the smiles at the shows, the great beauty of the clothes and it all seemed out of place, out of place. The contradictions of our time are summarized in my Instagram feed: runway photo, photo of a woman crying in Ukraine, another runway photo. The Instagram stories in sequence show me: models, children crying in the rubble, a Fashion Week party, a couple separating in Kiev, another Fashion Week party. And I’m not saying this to judge: I also wondered if it was worse not to post anything, or to post just to feel okay with my conscience.

A girl with the colors of Ukraine on her face outside the Prada show

A girl with the colors of Ukraine on her face outside the Prada show

Fashion Week continues quickly, without major tears. There are exceptions, but small and sporadic: a group of influencers displayed the Ukrainian flag outside the Prada show as a sign of solidarity. On the eve of the Gucci show, Alessandro Michele posted an anti-war post on Instagram, with the English translation of Gianni Rodari’s famous poem: “There are things to never do, neither during the day, nor at night, nor by sea, nor on land: for example, war“. Chiara Ferragni shared some news of the invasion on her Instagram feed with a broken heart, between shows. But they are gestures that belong to the private sector. I don’t know exactly what I expected to see from the designers: a minute of silence? A press release? A symbolic gesture, a word at the end of the shows? I don’t know, but I certainly didn’t expect this silence: at dawn on Friday morning no designer sent a message about Ukraine during the shows.

Read more from this author

influencers protest outside the Prada show

influencers protest outside the Prada show

Of course, it is hypocritical of me to say what we should have done: there have always been wars and genocides, in some corner of the planet whose names we struggle to remember, and we have never stopped. Now that they crowd the headlines, should we have done something different? Stopping is not the solution: fashion is among our strongest GDP voices, the work of thousands of people, thousands of families is at stake. Symbolic gestures – such as illuminating the Colosseum in yellow and blue – are perhaps useless, perhaps even hypocritical. But take position it never is, and indeed it is necessary. I don’t have the answer, but I can’t help but ask myself the question: why hasn’t anyone wanted to dedicate a minute to Ukraine until now? Symbolic gestures may not solve anything, but they speak loudly, especially in the spotlight of Milan. Because turning away and thinking that this war does not concern us is not only cruel: it is complicit.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Cookie

This website has updated its privacy policy in compliance with changes to European Union data protection law, for all members globally. We’ve also updated our Privacy Policy to give you more information about your rights and responsibilities with respect to your privacy and personal information. Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our updated privacy policy.