A not-so-critical look at “Dsquaw”

NYFW just passed and with winter still forging on tirelessly it is hard for me to look ahead to next years’ fall and winter. But alas this is fashion, always looking far forward, yet at the same time looking back. Fashionistas and designers are required to be ahead and constantly innovative six months before the rest of the world, and every six months. It may seem like it is all fun and games and garments, but designers are under constant pressure to innovate and create. Once they create another brain child, they almost immediately have to start working on the next season’s look, vibe and piece de resistance. Because of the quick turnover, designers have to become extremely creative and may seek inspiration from anywhere. It is nothing new for designers to look for inspiration from past time periods or different cultures around the world.

With all of this in mind, had I seen the latest D*Squared fall collection before I had heard about all of its political controversy I probably would have simply adored it. It has all of my usual favourite elements: fur, Canadian tribal prints, leather, oversized jewels and tons of proportion play. However, we live in a world where fashion is not simply taken at face value anymore, it is no longer just a matter of beauty, in order to gain press one must often provoke political controversy. Perhaps this was Dean and Dan’s intention by naming their collection “D*Squaw,” knowing well that the derogatory term for native Indian girl would garner a massive amount of attention. Good or bad, we live in a world where any attention is worth it. I mean look at Kim Kardashian or “Teen Moms” with their sex tapes getting them way further than my Ivy League bachelor’s degree ever did. Is it offensive? Yes. Is it offensive enough to have stores boycotting the product? In my opinion, no. I think people go a little overboard these days with the notion that everything has to be “politically correct.” Art by its very nature is meant to be provocative. It is meant to inspire thought. Get people talking. Questioning. Art must be subversive in order for there to be progress. It is hard to not see art that was inspired by historical periods as anything but racist, because those times were in fact very racist. But by gaining inspiration from early colonial Canada, it does not mean D*Squared necessarily supports the racism that occurred during that time, they are simply finding some beauty in what was ugly. Beauty can be found in the ugliest of times and it is often what gets us through those horrible moments. Fashion is about being able to be whoever you want to be every day. It is a habitual costume. Putting on something that gives off a certain character has gotten me through some of the toughest times in my life. In that moment as you look at yourself in the mirror adorned in your costume of the day you are able to escape temporarily from your own self-loathing identity.

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