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On the Eve of New York Fashion Week, What’s Next?

Vanessa Certainly it feels as if consumers are increasingly asking questions of brands like yours, about this as well as the other extremely pressing issue of the moment: the social justice movement. This group is very white, which is a reflection of the faults and the reality of the industry. LVMH just announced a new designer at Fendi women’s wear, Kim Jones, who is incredibly talented but is another white man. Antoine, did you think about the issue of diversity in that choice?

Antoine To be very honest, on this particular nomination, no. We decide these things way in advance. This topic of diversity, this topic of inclusion, has been at the forefront of our priorities, but it’s not by taking a quick action, nominating a new Black designer, that anything will be solved. We’ve published our ethnic data in the United States, and when you look at the results, it’s actually pretty good in terms of representation of different races. In France, you’re not allowed to do that. However, there’s a lot of work to be done. Our board has zero nonwhite presence. That will, I very, very much hope, change in the near future.

Virgil Fashion is our occupation, but it also projects an image you see when you drive down Houston Street or drive to the airport, looking at advertisements. We have the ability to effect change. It needs to be tackled at, like, 12 different points — the education level but also the way we turn our lens toward value and who’s contributing.

Antoine One of the few positive outcomes of this pandemic is that we’re going to work much more with local communities. Before, when we did a show in L.A., we brought everyone from Paris — 60 or 70 models, the hair, the makeup, everybody. And when you open any magazine, you see that it’s always the same three photographers, the same hair and makeup. From now on, we decided, for most of these brands, events or shootings, to work with local talent. Which will get us out of this little mafia of always working with the same people. I think that’s going to end with this pandemic.

Virgil The epicenter is now the fringe. And I would say that the fringe is now the future — creativity coming from nontraditional places. Africa can be the new Berlin, or the new Paris. That’s where we’re going to see the gains in the industry.

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