An Italian fashion label is under fire for its new Spring Summer collection inspired by…colonialism.
Big Uncle, a Milan-based menswear brand, has denied endorsing a historically bloody period full of atrocities.
It describes its new Colonial Deal range as a short and intense journey in the West [sic] former colonies in order to understand the Colonialism style. It even goes so far as saying that [some of] the linen is rough like the faces consumed by the sun.
So, you can imagine that not everyones happy about the range.
After all, its pretty odd to want to pay homage to a period of constant raping and savaging of other lands…let alone actually referring to sun-roughened skin as a novelty.
This brand, founded in 2014, defines itself as being based on a strong identity that tells the story of metropolitan lives and travels around the world, where inspiration is then found in every collection.
Mireille Harper has launched a petition demanding the line be binned – and shes already got 600 signatures.
Founders, Sabino Lebba and Riccardo Moroni both have failed to understand how important the concept of identity is, judging by their latest collection, which depicts male models wearing items of clothing emblazoned with “Colonialism”, amongst other items in the Colonial Deal collection, says Mireille.
Both fashion designers seem blatantly unaware of the continuing legacy of racism, oppression and poverty which colonialism has created.
Whether their views are misguided or downright racist, I cannot argue, however they appear to have a complete lack of understanding for people of colour who continue to live with the intergenerational trauma that lingers today in all pockets of society, particularly in their own country of origin, Italy, where racism, prejudice and discriminatory behaviour continues, with the most recent migrant shooting in Maceratabeing a stark reminder of this.
She says that when quizzed over the insensitive nature of the collection, the brand responded by simply asking customers to think about it and said that their collection was a post-modern approach to addressing words as “signified and signifiers”.
Mireille says: Despite this, neither them nor their clothing or brand appears to undertake any activity to combat racism, prejudice or discrimination. This clothing appears to be a publicity tool.
What does Big Uncle say?
Metro.co.uk reached out to Big Uncle and they had this to say:
We are really sorry if the name of our collection “COLONIAL DEAL” has caused such a stir and indignation.
We didnt mean to use a fashion collection to glorify a historical bloody period full of atrocities. We did not want to offend anyone and we deeply apologize if we did.
Big Uncle is a fashion brand that wants to inspire a dress culture, it doesnt have any subliminal political message to communicate.
Big Uncle designers are not racists, fascists, Nazis or … colonialists, they believe in freedom of thought and in the superiority of thought over any form of violence, abuse, imposition and oppression.
The COLONIAL DEAL collection is described on our website as follows:
A short and an intense journey to the colonial style. The Big Uncle man of SS18 proposes the COLONIAL DEAL, what the eyes, the sense of touch and mind recall of those places.
Forms and volumes intertwine like the East and the West cultures; the colours are warm like the cities, soft like the sunsets, dusty like the dirt roads.
As persuasive are those places the linen is rough like the faces consumed by the sun, the military colours and the leather are a soft suede.
The garments, whether they are rough or delicate, remind us of our emotion, of our COLONIAL DEAL.”
The explanation of the collection is extremely clear. The inspiration was taken by the XIX (fashion) style, recognized as such, and in XX century it was used as an inspiration and creative reference by numerous stylists before Big Uncle.
The entire collection is not inspired by COLONIALISM which is the historical and political period, but by XIX centurys clothing style (colours and fabrics). There is a colonial style/reference in architecture and it is not accused of being politically incorrect as in fashion, moreover, there is a Roman, Greek, Medieval, empire style that no one has ever referred to the cruelty that those historical periods have represented.
We only want to say that as stylists, not as historians, we live in a liquid society (Zygmund Bauman) where many references have changed, just as the use and perception of words have changed. Writing “COLONIALISM” on a t-shirt doesnt mean to celebrate that historical period, but instead, it wants people to reflect on it.
“Are there many aspects of the economic globalization similar to old colonialism today? Does writing PEACE & LOVE on a T-shirt make more sense in todays world than writing WAR & HATE? Where are we going as a society or as a community? What do we want to communicate?”
There is a brand whose name comes from Latin as superlative of the adjective SUPERUS, which means , it was the expression used by Julius Caesar (De bello gallico book) in order to express the superiority of Romans people on the Gauls and, in the “Mein Kump” by Adolf Hitler it is used to stress the racial superiority of the German Aryans on the Jews.
Did anyone define that brand politically incorrect? Did you label that collection as racist?
Big Uncle loves colonial style and it is against all forms of colonialism
So…what do you think?