Tom Ford slams cancel culture for 'inhibiting design' and misses when could celebrate other cultures

Tom Ford slams cancel culture for 'inhibiting design' and misses when could celebrate other cultures

‘Everything is considered appropriation’: Tom Ford slams cancel culture for ‘inhibiting design’ and says he misses the time people could ‘celebrate other cultures’

  • Tom Ford, 60, said cancel culture has caused designers to ‘lock into a set of rules,’ and is nostalgic about the times when celebrities would ‘take more risks’
  • He admitted that A-listers have become ‘homogenized’ thanks to agents and managers dictating what they should wear in fear of being cancelled 
  • ‘Old Oscar pictures, before celebrities had stylists…people took even more risks. There were great things going down the red carpet then,’ he said 
  • The Texas-born designer has dressed Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Tom Hanks, Johnny Depp, Ryan Gosling among other big named in Hollywood


Tom Ford said that cancel culture ‘inhibits design’ because ‘everything is now considered appropriation’ and designers can no longer ‘celebrate other cultures’.

The 60-year-old fashion icon said on the phenomenon: ‘Cancel culture inhibits design because rather than feeling free, the tendency is to start locked into a set of rules. Everything is now considered appropriation. We used to be able to celebrate other cultures. Now you can’t do that.’

He also blamed social media for making designs look ‘increasingly cartoonish,’ according to The Guardian.  

‘Instagram has broken down the rules. People dress up to take pictures of themselves to post online, everything is exaggerated – especially the eyebrow,’ Ford told the news site. 

He recalled a time when celebrities took ‘bigger risks’ because they didn’t have stylists in their ears admitted that he missed it. 

Tom Ford (pictured at the 2021 Met Gala), 60, said cancel culture has caused designers to ‘lock into a set of rules,’ and is nostalgic about the times when celebrities would ‘take more risks’

Texas-born Ford has dressed Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez (pictured together at the CFDA Fashion Awards in 2019), Tom Hanks, Johnny Depp, Ryan Gosling among other big named in Hollywood

Texas-born Ford has dressed Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez (pictured together at the CFDA Fashion Awards in 2019), Tom Hanks, Johnny Depp, Ryan Gosling among other big named in Hollywood

Ford admitted that red carpets and A-lister appearances have all become ‘a little bit homogenized’ thanks to agents and managers dictating what stars should wear on their outings in fear of being cancelled.

Yet Ford, who was the honorary chair at the 2021 Met Gala, put on a rather simple display when walking the red carpet in the biggest night in fashion.

He donned a classic, all-black suit complete with a velvet jacket, leather shoes, a bowtie and sunglasses.

‘Oh my god, my taste in celebrities? Well, I like celebrities in general because they’re unafraid of fashion,’ he said, according to The Guardian. 

‘They need fashion. They need, when they walk down a red carpet, to get attention, so they’re not afraid. They’ll take much bigger risks. It’s great to see a celebrity wearing your clothes,’ he added.

When asked about what he thinks of celebrities – more specifically their stylists in the shadows, dubbed ‘the most powerful people in Hollywood’ – dictating style trends, Ford responded: ‘I wish they were a little less powerful, I have to say.’

He used the 70s an example of when stars didn’t have stylists and took ‘more risks’ in their wardrobe. Along with risks, the era was classified by tie dye shirts, ‘peasant’ blouses and bell-bottom jeans. 

‘If you look at old Oscar pictures, before celebrities had stylists, and my God, people took even more risks. There were great things going down the red carpet then.’ 

A model wears the Tropme-L'oeil' grey sweatpants feature an exposed boxer short built-in above the waistband

The style was made famous in hip hop culture during the 90s

Designed by prominent Spanish fashion brand Balenciaga, the Tropme-L’oeil grey sweatpants featured an exposed boxer short built-in above the waistband – a style made famous in hip hop culture during the 90s

According to The Guardian the Texas-born designer has dressed Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Tom Hanks, Johnny Depp, Ryan Gosling among other big names in Hollywood.

He wouldn’t disclose who his favorite celebrity to dress was but settled for a more general sentiment: ‘It’s the ones who really know themselves. And if they’re working with a stylist, they assert themselves, or the stylist is kind of running around finding things that they asked them to find. 

‘There are those celebrities who have their own sense of style.’

While Ford – whose label makes more than $1 billion per year – has managed to steer clear of cancel culture, citing an ‘obsession with political correctness,’ his big-name designer counterparts haven’t been so lucky.

A pair of $1,190 Balenciaga sweatpants caused quite a stir last month after multiple critics accused the design as a form of cultural appropriation.

The grey sweats from the prominent Spanish fashion brand were named the Trompe-L’oeil and featured an exposed boxer short built-in above the waistband – a style made famous in hip hop culture during the 90s.

Critics caught wind of the controversy after TikTok user @mr200m__, whose real name is Josiah Hyacinth, posted a video mocking design at a Selfridges on September 2.

Fashion house Dolce & Gabbana was accused of racism in 2018 after an ad campaign featured an Asian model trying to eat Italian food with chopsticks

Fashion house Dolce & Gabbana was accused of racism in 2018 after an ad campaign featured an Asian model trying to eat Italian food with chopsticks

‘This feels racist. This feels very racist, guys,’ Hyacinth said while inspecting the pants. ‘They have woven these boxers inside the trousers.’

In an email statement to CNN, Marquita Gammage, an associate professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Northridge, said she was disturbed by the Balenciaga item and what she witnesses as ‘Black culture with the hopes of securing major profits’.

Gammage, who is the author of ‘Cultural Appropriation as ‘Agency Reduction’ noted that the style has often ‘been used to criminalize Blacks, especially Black males as thugs and a threat to American society’.

Individuals immediately responded to the design online, slamming the fashion brand for gentrifying yet another aspect of black culture.

‘Black men being discriminated against and devalued for sagging pants and Balenciaga is profiting off the style. Crazy how it’s ghetto until they put a price on it,’ user @HighestPriestess said of the design on Twitter. 

Then in 2019 a Gucci faced cancel culture as an $890 top from the brand sparked outrage on Twitter as many claimed it was a play off blackface.

‘Inspired by vintage ski masks, multicolored knitted balaclavas walked the runway, adding a mysterious feel to this collection. This knit top combines the accessory with the ready-to-wear collection,’ a description of the product read.

Gucci later apologized for selling the black balaclava knit top, which currently sells for on sites like Spring and features a cut-out at the mouth that is outlined in red.

‘We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected and at the forefront of every decision we make,’ the Italian label wrote in a statement.

Dolce & Gabbana even called off their 2018 high-profile runway show in Shanghai, China, because of cancel culture.

The Italian fashion brand was accused of racism after releasing a trio of videos featuring an Asian model trying to eat Italian food with chopsticks. 

The controversial piece was a a black balaclava knit top selling for $890 on sites like Spring

It featured a cut-out at the mouth outlined in red

The piece, a black balaclava knit top, sells for $890 on sites like Spring and featured a cut-out at the mouth outlined in red

Gucci took to Twitter to apologize for the sweater and added that diversity was fundamental for the brand

Gucci took to Twitter to apologize for the jumper and added that diversity was fundamental for the brand

Adele was accused of cultural appropriation for wearing a Jamaican-flag bikini and Bantu knots to mark Notting Hill Carnival last summer

Adele was accused of cultural appropriation for wearing a Jamaican-flag bikini and Bantu knots to mark Notting Hill Carnival last summer 

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The videos were meant to promote its new campaign DG Loves China and were captioned: ‘Welcome to Episode 1 with Dolce & Gabbana’s Eating with Chopsticks. First up today is how to use this stick shaped cutlery to eat your GREAT traditional Pizza Margherita.’

Following the incident, screengrabs of an alleged argument with Gabbana went viral on Instagram, where the 57-year-old designer was seen making disrespectful comments about China. 

The brand and designer said that their Instagram accounts were hacked.

Meanwhile, English singer Adele was nearly cancelled earlier this month when fans bashed her on social media for wearing a Jamaican-flag bikini and Bantu knots in her hair to mark the Notting Hill Carnival last summer.

The 33-year-old said she ‘didn’t read the f***ing room’ with her post and admitted that she didn’t take the picture down as that would have meant she was ‘acting like it never happened’.

In the photo shared to her Instagram, Adele posed in the garden of her $9.5 million Beverly Hills home while wearing her hair in Bantu knots – a style native to the Zulu people of southern Africa.

Users slammed the choice as ‘insensitive’. Ernest Owens wrote on Twitter: ‘If 2020 couldn’t get anymore bizarre, Adele is giving us Bantu knots and cultural appropriation that nobody asked for. This officially marks all of the top white women in pop as problematic. Hate to see it.’  

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Shannon Thaler

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