How do you differentiate between a designer (person) and its work?

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  1. #1 Feb 21, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2019
    I am having a hard time not thinking of a brands problematic past when reading comments like "oh the history of this chanel bag is exquisite" or "I love the history of LV". I understand that it is a way of bettering the value or enhancing the shopping experience, believing that one is part of an aesthetic tradition, but I find it hard to differentiate between the designer person, or a brands problematic past and his or her work. It def. has stopped me from shopping and I was wondering about you guys, if you had a dilemma like that?

    I know in todays calling-out-atmosphere it is almost a sport to some to find something problematic, its a bit ridic if one tweet of a public person is being broadcasted and dissected all over, I rather mean long-term-behaviour etc.:smile:.
    cncm and Jkfashionstyle like this.
  2. If you despise the designer and s/he is and behaves against your values, don't buy the bag. I wouldn't. No point in making an effort to like something that disgusts you.

    On the nazi issue, I have to say, one would have to look very closely at old brands to make sure they are free of any connotation... As for personalities, many in Europe (including in the British royal family!) were seduced by fascism, often via an idealistic outlook. In fact you will find many have a much more direct link than what is alleged Coco Chanel did... Coca Cola sponsored the Berlin Olympic games and negotiated personally with Goring so that they could bypass import restrictions. Volkswagen was a nazi pride and joy. Hugo Boss was a nazi party member and produced nazi uniforms. IG Farben (producers of aspirin) made (knowingly) the gas for the concentration camps. Louis Vuitton had very strong links to the collaborationist Vichy regime. Balenciaga made dresses for dictator Franco's wife. The list goes on and on...
    Quinni, OCMomof3, Ceeyahd and 7 others like this.
  3. #3 Feb 21, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2019
    Amen to that!

    I cant help but wonder, if you are opening this discussion because of Lagerfeld`s passing, @nesuu? All over social media there are hatred filled people who have the nerves to point out what an awful human being Lagerfeld was in their eyes, because he called adele fat and played down sexual harassement.

    I cannot believe, nor do I want to, that some people are that ignorant and disrespectful that not even 24 hours after a human being has died, they have nothing better to do than to point out what that person did wrong. If they dont like Lagerfeld, fine, if they dont want his products as a result, equally fine. But let the people who are truly hurt and saddened by his sudden death express their condolences for gods sake.

    To me, the same thing applies to a brands history.
    you say:
    And I think that is a bit rude, really. I dont say the history of chanel is exquisite because by doing so I want to better the value of the items or enhance my shopping experience. I say so (I actually never have but I might as well now) becase I do find the history extraordinary. I dont care if Coco was involved in Nazi history because at one point or the other, every friggin human being in the world had one thing or the other to do with the politics back then. Why do you think it turned into a world war? There was not a child, not a person entirely untouched by what happened. If I were to avoid every single invention, product or brand or idea that has a history leading BACK to awful history events (of any kind!) I couldnt do anything or buy anything or eat anything. Did you know German Highways were a result of Hitlers plans? What am I supposed to do, not use them? Did you know the Military actually played a massive part of both the invention of the Internet and the World wide web you are using to post this as well as the smartphone you probably own? And they did NOT do so for friendly reasons. What are we supposed to do, you dont ditch mobile phones and never use internet, do u?

    It were different, to me, if the brand were promoting things I am against today. For me, past is past. My current generation cannot be made responsible for the fact that it happened. WE ARE however very much RESPONSIBLE for the fact that something like this never happens again. I cant change the past - not even by not buying brands whose history goes back into dark chapters. I CAN change the future though by not buying items whose brands do similar things TODAY. By getting involved in politics and standing up for womens rights. By, for example, not thinking that HOT FELLON guy is hot and fangirling like a 12 year old and forgetting his terrible terrible past and cheering when he is on the runway for friggin Dolce and Gabbana or whatnot. By supporting equal wages. By being open to any nationality, skin-colour or language that comes my way. By making my voice heard. By going forward.

    But certainly not by giving myself a hard time because I like a bag whose very sole inventor at one point in her life did what millions of other people did at the exact same time: Fall for what one man promised, told and pushed into ppls minds.

    I admire the History of Chanel, as well as the life of Lagerfeld, because of what they have achieved. Because of the legacy they have built, because coco made it DESPITE that awful time and found her tracks back. Because she put her foot down and made her one-woman-show, when the world was even more run my men than it is today. Because she never let her childhood as an orphan limit what she would dream of. Because she loved fearlessly, whole-heartedly and had a vision. Because she turned a hat-creating-studio into a billion dollar brand. And because she made mistakes and learned from them.

    I hope one day when we are all long gone, people will focus on the good we did - everything else would just be sad.
    DBLover318, Pessie and periogirl28 like this.
  4. No I do not open this discussion because of Lagerfelds passing.
    It was an open question, if people had struggled with similar thoughts on these designers / consumerism and I had just read a couple of articles on brand identity and history and thought it would be interesting how others think about it. it is a personal matter if one wants to be connected to it etc.
  5. I see!

    Well, I assume its personal preference. Like explained above, I care about avoiding unjustice in the presence, and avoid brands as best as I can if there are things I dont like - I ditched certain make up and cosmetic brands after finding out about their animal testing, I dont support brands who use anoraxic or criminal models or put child models in sexual scenes, that kind of thing. So yes, those things put me in the position where I had to say nope, I wont buy that anymore.
  6. very on point. and probably true to most old euro brands, maybe a sign to update my wardrobe!
  7. But no reason to stop at Europe! Aside from Coca Cola (which used the swastika in ads), other American brands also had links with fascism. IBM sold the nazis the machines used to keep track in concentration camps (maybe they didn't realise? Oh, then why did they increase production out of their own initiative after the Poland invasion?). Henry Ford (a known antisemitic) was awarded (and accepted) the German Grand Cross by the nazi government. GM's CEO was too. Chase Manhattan, JP Morgan and Citybank seized Jewish assets and gave client information to the nazis to identify jews. Kodak used slave labor from the concentration camps in its factories.

    Does this mean that because nazi and fascist sympathies at the time were much more spread that what we have been led to believe, it makes it all okay? No. There were those who opposed and put themselves in the line, like the amazing lady in my avatar, and for that they should forever be honored.

    But it makes you wonder why some brands are always being picked up on these things and others left alone...
    Annabel Lee, nesuuu and monkeyjuju like this.
  8. I truly get where you are going, but in the end, it’s a matter of personal preference. I’ll explain myself...

    I, monkeyjuju, thought that Karl Lagerfeld’s public persona was quite despicable. I did not know him personally though. You would be amazed at how different we are personally vs publicly. Besides, the things we say and do, right or wrong do not fully define us as persons— those are just single pieces of a giant puzzle. Going back to his public persona, he did have a point most of the time and the truth is he said things that most people think, but do not dare to say out loud, so I whilst I do think that he crossed the line between being honest and being a jerk most of the time, I have to say that courage alone was truly brilliant. Besides, what’s the point of life (or fashion, if you want) if you cannot cause a stir and outrage some people here and there? I do have to say that I was kind of disappointed at the Adele incident because if I were him, I would not have apologized to her and given here all of those bags after simply stating a fact, but I guess that is just how PR and PC work (and not that it matters at all, but I really like her).

    He was a true genius and nobody will ever be able to fit half of his shoes, so his actions never stopped me for a second from buying a few Chanel shoes, bags and RTW here and there, as well as some Fendi shoes (a closet full of Peekaboos is still on my wishlist). And I say “a few” because I do not like these brands as much as other brands, but had I liked them more, I would have definitely spent all of my income on them, again, regardless of his good or bad actions. I think it is always worse to not follow your desires out of a kind of empty conviction because then you would not be really true to yourself, even if you think you are being so. (Hope that makes sense.)

    This brings me to my next point: if I were to boycott or cancel every single enterprise/person who has ever been mysogynistic, racist, islamophobic, fatphobic, non-inclusive... you name it (I have experienced all of this too many times to count), or even joked about any of these subjects, yes, ignorantly, but most of the times not with ill fate, I would probably have to move into a cave— and maybe I would even be excluded by the cave because I probably would not fit into it. I am not referring to you directly, but the thing is that it is so easy to whine nowadays about things that are really not important at all in the greater scheme of life.

    Another fun (not really “fun” at all) fact is that some of the biggest technological and medical advances we currently benefit from have been because of the cruel experiments that the nazis made on jewish people. To this day, I still have not seen anyone (even jewish) rejecting or not benefitting from these things. As it was stated before, the past is in the past and what matters the most are the actions that are taken today. Sorry for the super long reply, but I hope that it helped you at least a bit. In the end, the decision is yours.
    nesuuu likes this.
  9. I think it becomes very complicated and emotional for those of us old enough to have a parent (or close relative) who was impacted, tortured or killed by a particular regime. I think it is personal and not black and white.

    As for KL’s death, I do believe in respecting his family and their grieving process. However, I also believe that public responses should be respectful yet balanced with respect to a person’s life.
    OCMomof3 and nesuuu like this.
  10. #10 Feb 21, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2019
    ^An attitude only certain groups of people can "afford."
    If anyone can look at our world today and really believe that the past is past, they are blind to the abuses and harms being inflicted because of the very same ideologies from, well, the past.

    Simply: If one finds a brand unsavory for any reason, spend your dollars elsewhere.
  11. With regards to Coco, KL, Ford etc. The media, family members, friends and the public have a tendency to white-wash over a deceased loved one's sins. People just want to remember the good things but often forget that human beings are complex beings, they can be talented jerks, they can be utter scum to people, loving to animals. Unlike movies and fairy tales, people aren't one dimensional, and sometimes, people find it hard to consolidate how they feel about someone with what they objectively know about the same person.

    Look at the eulogies given at Presidents' funerals.

    Nixon's, what was talked about in death, was proooobably not what he's most known for either.

    As for whether you support a brand or not, it's completely your choice, if you can't enjoy an item purchased solely because it's original designer was a Nazi, or because it's current designer till less than 48 hours ago was a talented, if politically incorrect something-something-ist; that's your call. As with every purchase, you should love it. You've spent a lot on it, you have the right to love it. Anything less than, and it isn't worth buying...for whatever reason.
    monkeyjuju likes this.
  12. I mean, of course! As I said, it’s a personal decision to buy or not from x brand as it is to chain yourself to the past rather than not forgetting it, but moving on. Quoting another great designer: “I never look back, darling— it distracts me from the now”. This comes from someone who belongs to a group that “cannot afford” that attitude and whose great grandparents had to flee their country because their parents, siblings and friends were tortured, raped and killed. Again, it’s a personal choice and this works for me and many people, but I am aware that it does not for everyone. C’est la vie.
  13. Have you been to Germany?
    School children spend ~6 months touring camps, watching films, studying the horrors their past leaders inflicted.
    I met some of them at Dachau.
    And one of my best friends is German.

    No one has forgotten the nazi stuff.
    No one ever will.
    No German can.

    Yet people buy tons of Native American jewelry & products from China.
    Without blinking.
    Do you know about Chairman Mao's activities, how many died?
    Or the near genocide of tribal culture in US?

    Everywhere has horror. Everywhere has mistakes.
    Everywhere has history.
    And shame.
    Not everywhere opens memorials & sites to educate future generations. To stop history from repeating.

    I made an educated choice.
    I own a chanel bag.
    I know what Coco was--Coco was French. And is dead.
    History does not make all of the company's handbags evil, imo.
    As history does not make every German evil.

    But, sure. Keep bringing it up to educate.
    Refuse to buy, if you wish.
    Whatever. That choice is a freedom we all have.:shrugs:
  14. Well put; the thing is, I'd bet most people on TPF have a certain level of privilege above the norm (myself included), so the views may look different. But to pretend that some of the things Lagerfeld said were just quirky statements is absurd. You can be talented and still not a nice person.

    I tend to not let personalities affect my purchasing decisions because honestly, I'd probably never buy anything since problematic people are everywhere now.
    OCMomof3 and daisychainz like this.
  15. I am a huge fan of Woody Allen films, but not Woody Allen and his lifestyle or views. I think (for me) I am looking at the object this person has created and seeing/appreciating the talent and artistry, and not dwelling on the creator, but their final product. There are many brands that have irked me with what their executives say or do, but as you said, can you truly avoid all those companies? No one has ever gone through life as a perfect person, and you will find ugliness in every single brand. I think you pick and choose what you find deeply offensive/not and if you truly do not stand by a company and its history (or creators, or design) you avoid it and go elsewhere, where you feel better about spending your money. Thankfully, Chanel is a brand you can completely avoid if you want because no one needs these luxury goods. I read the history of Gucci and Ferragamo several years ago and fell in love with both them just because of their history - perhaps reading about other brands will lead you to one that resonates with you on a more personal level.
    remainsilly likes this.