You Are What You Eat: How Diet Prada is Changing the Face of Fashion Media The food pyramid of fashion media is getting overturned. Features writer Emily Bacal details how the new clean eating involves a hefty serving of Diet Prada’s brand of no-holds-barred criticism and in-depth analysis. It’s time to purge your pantry of problematic brands and uncritical publications. Are the expiration dates of traditional fashion publications finally coming due? written by EMILY BACAL
Fashion, welcome to the information age. The growth of social media has shifted virtually all aspects of the fashion industry. Models are cast or passed over based on follower counts. Social media influencers have taken fashion by storm, accumulating a flurry of collaborations, editorials, and ambassadorships. Brands are paying more attention to the digital community, bolstering their online presence. In attempting to establish themselves within new digital frontiers, industry giants and newcomers alike are making the rules up as they go. The democratization of public voice has facilitated various upheavals in the realm of fashion media, allowing for plebian voices to be heard among the patricians. Increasingly diverse voices have used the internet to amplify their perspectives, challenging the former monopoly on fashion coverage once held by magazines and newspapers. Digitization has not only shifted the medium of publications, but has fundamentally altered the type of information being distributed, broadening the public’s access to the industry. Enter Diet Prada, a vigilante Instagram account boasting 1.2 million followers, run by a formerly anonymous
duo well versed in fashion history. Diet Prada’s founders, Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler, have weaponized their nearly catalogical knowledge of designer collections. The duo uses their own observations alongside tips direct-messaged from their followers (referred to affectionately as ‘Dieters,’) to expose the rip-offs, bigots, and liars running amok in fashion and its adjacent industries. These Prada-wearing Robin Hood reduxes expose everything from the ideas megalith designers have poached from smaller labels, to the problematic imagery evoked by Gucci’s blackface-balaclavas. Among the many takedowns Diet Prada has dished out, none were as sweetly satisfying as their assault on Dolce & Gabbana’s ‘The Great Show,” a huge fashion extravaganza set to take place in Shanghai in the fall of 2018. By exposing the blatant racism and cultural insensitivity of Stefano Gabbana, Diet Prada caused this show to be cancelled altogether. No other fashion media platform would have been able to shut this show down in the way that Diet Prada did, both on account of the speed with which the social media account attacks wrongdoers and DP’s place of extreme influence. The exposure of Gabbana’s
offensive comments about China and Chinese culture set off a tide of backlash to the brand, including videos of consumers burning their Dolce & Gabbana pieces, a spatter of D&G stores shutting down around the world, and some major retailers dropping the brand altogether. As fashion is a reputational industry, exposure of this sort of bigoted behavior has direct consequences for brand marketability. The scale of this takedown proved the influence this upstart Instagram account really has. Notably, in their coverage of the event, many publications neglected to mention the integral role DP played in this takedown. Diet Prada has faced backlash from fashion media as it stakes its claim within the industry. News outlets and critics claim that Diet Prada’s rapid rise to fame is a result of a cultural desire to bring others down. The first line of a March 2019 Vogue article about the wardrobe choices of “scammers” reads, “Cultural fascination with people who do wrong has never been higher.” However, the reduction of DP’s purpose to fulfilling our desire for vindication ignores the revolutionary quality of its content. The antiquated rules about zipping lips when it comes to fashion criticism
Authenticity seems to be the only thing wealthy brands and influencers can’t buy nowadays. 13
ROCKET Magazine's Spring/Summer 2019 issue. Find more online at www.wmrocketmagazine.com.