Vogue Italia came under fire this morning for posting the below image, conceived by artist Mous Lamrabat, which shows a black man wearing a reinterpretation of a Ku Klux Klan hood, equipped with a Nike swoosh.

The Ku Klux Klan also known as the KKK is a white supremacist hate group that terrorized African-Americans and minorities beginning in the late 1860’s and continued on well into the 50’s, 60’s, and beyond. With their trademark hoods, they left their marks with burning crosses, and underscored their mission of ‘purifying the American population,’ by lynching, murdering, and burning.

@MousLamrabat explained his position, saying, “KousKousKlan 
Fear is a tricky thing, what if we take symbols that fear us and bring it in a way that it becomes something we can smile at?”

But this is no smiling matter. The vestiges of this era of white supremacy still live on today, with nationalist rhetoric underscored by our own President. Minorities are still terrorized. We have not overcome–yet. This artistry is in poor taste.

Mous LamRabat must be aware, as he deleted his post while we were penning this piece. He replaced his hooded photo with that of a man with balloons in the place of his head, writing, “Maybe this is better than… I’m very sorry but ignorants won again…”

Over 10+ years of reporting on fashion foibles and racial insensitivity disguised as artistry, we often ponder: WHY? Why dredge up images of a dreadful past for amusement? Why do the models willingly participate? Why is our painful history, dotted with inhumane and cruel suffering, a sore scab that keeps getting picked off…in the name of fashion?

What do you think?

Images: Instagram/Prada/Gucci/Moncler

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