Ten years ago, the word emoji looked like a typo, and the concept of canceled applied mostly to schools on snow days. A decade—this decade!—later, the world has reprogrammed its playbooks for power, desire, and beauty, creating new paradigms that spiral through cyberspace at the speed of light—or at least at the speed of Kylie Cosmetics sales. Where does the fashion world stand at the end of a tumultuous, transformative decade? These 12 moments give us some hints at where we’re going, thanks to a trail of Instagram crumbs that show us where we’ve been.
Cancel Culture: Couture Edition
But what happens when fashion brands don’t take the hint (or the Glassdoor review) and start treating their employees and customers like valuable human beings? Then it’s time for cancel culture, the online phenomenon that names and shames bad behavior and sometimes ruins careers in the process.
The 2010s saw the rise of Twitter rants, boycott hashtags, the #MeToo movement, of course, and Diet Prada, the Instagram juggernaut that tirelessly crusades for independent designers and original ideas. When it got proof of Dolce & Gabbana’s racist DMs before the brand’s first-ever Chinese couture show, the indie site put the couture label on blast, causing an online uproar so loud, it forced the brand to call off its imminent runway show and lose millions of dollars in the process.
Most recently, luggage start-up Away replaced its founding CEO after an article went viral detailing her many missteps, including alleged abusive behavior aimed at junior employees. She was replaced by the CEO of Lululemon, a brand that also got cancelled (in 2013) for selling yoga pants that turned out to be sheer. (It has since atoned with some pretty great leggings for cold-weather running.)