When the Harvey Weinstein scandal first graced the pages of every major news publication across the United States, no one knew what major overhaul would soon take place. Now described as “Post-Weinstein”, the victims of the Weinstein scandal have begun to shed light on the (for lack of better wording) absolute crap that women have to deal with in a white, male-dominated world. As the months pass, America is healing by acknowledging victims and cutting male toxicity out of the workplace. However, in order for America to properly heal, we must acknowledge all the victims. And the one no one is talking about is Georgina Chapman.
While Weinstein is the creative director of being the worst person alive, Georgina Chapman is his (soon-to-be-ex) wife and co-founder/co-creative director of Marchesa, a successful evening wear brand known for embracing the femininity of fashion. When the scandal broke the week before Marchesa’s spring/summer collection was to premiere and the day of their bridal show, reps for the brand postponed the show with no new date. This NYFW, all eyes will be on Marchesa, wondering if there will be some response, change, or some resolution in her work.
We keep a close eye on her work because on all levels, fashion produces clothing that acts as a double-sided sword. The same clothes that make women feel strong, beautiful or even invincible can be the same clothes that women are ashamed or harassed for. Clothing is armor. Clothing is art. This is why fashion should care about sexual abuse.
Despite the major influence fashion has in women, and the influence Chapman has in fashion, there is a strange silence across nearly all facets of the industry. Even as men working in fashion are outed for being predators, creeps, and abusers, the crickets stay chirping. How strange that just months ago we were sporting Planned Parenthood buttons from runway to runway in unity with women, and now the only word to describe the industry is complacency. Why? Is it embarrassment? Astonishment? Indifference?
Even further, some companies, brands, and clients are estranging themselves from Marchesa due to its connection with Weinstein. But this type of twisted response is only hurting Chapman and co-creative director Karen Craig. Meghan McCain, who recently wore a Marchesa dress for her wedding day, said it best: “Why should the two women designers be punished for a man’s disgusting behavior?”
As the next runway season nears closer, and as more and more men are plucked from their jobs like weeds in a garden, it becomes increasingly important to speak up in solidarity for the women fashion dresses and employs. We especially owe it to Georgina Chapman, who is not a victim of Weinstein in the traditional sense, but still caught in the web that Weinstein wove. Yet she continues to carry on with her flourishing business in an industry that doesn’t stop for anyone. She continues to take care of her two children, and she continues to embody feminism and empowerment. She practically defines the phrase “nevertheless, she persisted”. Whether fashion truly acknowledges the male abuse of power in the workplace, we absolutely must concede to her bravery, strength, and ultimate girl-power.