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November 8, 2023 11:01 am

Thousands in Fashion, Beauty Industry Call on Colleagues to Denounce Rise in Antisemitism


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Fashion designer Donna Karen attends the 73rd annual Parsons Benefit at The Glasshouse in New York, New York, on May 23, 2022. Photo: Gabriele Holtermann/Sipa via Reuters Connect

More than 1,100 members of the fashion and beauty industry are demanding that others in their business outwardly condemn antisemitism and online hate crimes, which have been on the rise since the deadly Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel on Oct. 7.

“Fashion has always been a powerful platform for self-expression, inclusivity, and the celebration of diverse cultures. It has been heart-breaking for us to witness so many instances where our industry has continued to enable acts of discrimination and hatred,” read the letter. It was signed by models, designers, agents, publicists, stylists, photographers, buyers, casting directors, hair and makeup artists, fashion journalists, social media influencers, and others.

“Antisemitism, in any form, has no place in our society, let alone within an industry that prides itself on creativity and acceptance,” the letter added. It further noted that the fashion and beauty community must take “concrete steps to eradicate antisemitism within the industry.”

The signatories — both Jewish and non-Jewish — included Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli; makeup mogul Bobbi Brown; designers Donna Karan, Rachel Zoe, and Christopher Kanel; former editor of Vogue International Suzy Menkes; and British Fashion Council CEO Caroline Rush. The letter was coordinated by designer and creative director Deborah Lyons.

The industry figures wrote in the letter that recent reports “and our own personal experiences, have shed light on the presence of antisemitic behavior and stereotypes being used on and offline by members of the fashion industry. This perpetuates harmful narratives and contributes to the marginalization of Jewish individuals and communities.”

They asked fashion companies and organizations to implement “regular mandatory diversity and sensitivity training” for all employees, even designers and executives, to ensure “a deeper understanding of different cultures and religions, including Judaism.” The industry leaders also urged companies to denounce antisemitism if they see it and to “take swift and decisive action against individuals or brands that perpetuate such behavior.”

“We urge you to address this issue by severing ties with individuals who have a track record in engaging in discriminatory practices that perpetuate harmful stereotypes, and that you join our demand for a fashion industry that promotes unity, understanding, and equality for all,” the letter said in conclusion.

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