Good news! Chanel announced its Head of Diversity of Inclusion, the first position of its kind for the luxury brand. But wait, it’s not a person of color.
What We Know:
- Fiona Pargeter, who worked as the Head of Diversity of inclusion for Swiss bank UBS, was hired to “evolve” the brands’ existing diversity and inclusion approach and “continue to create momentum” for their effort, according to a Chanel spokesperson. The role was created as “a sign of Chanel’s commitment and its importance to the house,” according to Vogue.
- Chanel had a recent campaign that featured a diverse group of woman including 80-year-old actress Ali MacGraw and supermodels Naomi Campbell and Liu Wen. However, the brand has had its fair share of controversies in the past like the 1994 couture dress that was embroidered with verses from the Quran. Also, in 2015 for creating a fake protest for its Spring/Summer fashion show, that sparked debate over whether the brand was appropriating feminism to sell designer handbags.
- Similarly, other brands like Prada, Gucci, and Burberry have faced backlash in the past for their culturally insensitive or racist products and campaigns, which promoted them to launch a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council, aiming to “amplify voices of colour within the industry.”
- Chanel went through some major changes since the passing of designer Karl Lagerfeld earlier this year. In its 2018 “Report to Society,” the brand stated that enhancing diversity and inclusion is an “ongoing process” for them. “We will continue to focus on new programs to demonstrate our appreciation for all aspects of diversity, including diversity of thought, and to further promote a more inclusive and diverse culture,” the company said in the report.
Brands have sought out to hire a person of color to fill this role, and although Pargeter is qualified for the role, one might question Chanel’s choice and if the brand will be able to successfully combat possible issues in the future.