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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Thursday, February 29, 2024

Jeremy Scott sparks controversy again at Milan Fashion Week

Jeremy Scott, creative director of Moschino, poses with an action figure of himself in 2015.

Missouri-born designer Jeremy Scott, the creative director of Italian fashion house Moschino, is no stranger to controversy on the catwalk. The campaign he released for autumn/winter 2018, titled “Alien Nation,” was not well received by many social media users, who labeled it tone-deaf and insensitive due to its references to undocumented immigrants in the U.S. When Scott showed his spring/summer (SS) 2017 collection in 2016, fashion critics and aficionados alike did not respond well to some of the pill-themed garments and accessories, claiming they glamorized mental illness and addiction. Beyond his problematic designs, Scott has also been accused on several occasions of copying other designers’ work in his collections.

During Milan Fashion Week, which ended Sept. 25, Scott displayed his latest collection for SS 2019, which was conceived to highlight the fashion designer’s creative process on late nights right before fashion week deadlines. In an interview with Vogue, Scott claimed that he was attempting to capture “those moments of magic and inspiration when you’re working late. The fashion show opened with a recording of a phone conversation between the American designer and supermodel Gigi Hadid, one of Scott’s main muses, in which Hadid prompted Scott to hurry up as he risked being late to his own fashion show.

Most of the pieces in the collection were made entirely using white fabric, printed with patterns imitating the marks left by felt-tip pens used to color in shapes quickly. The collection also presented teddy bear prints and oversized Moschino logos, both of which have been recurring motifs in Scott’s work for the Italian fashion house. Overall, the effect of the prints with the white fabric and the retro-inspired, elegant silhouettes was quite remarkable, and, much like Scott’s previous Moschino collections, is bound to leave a lasting impression on fashion audiences.

The Moschino SS '19 show, however, will probably also be remembered for reasons Scott will not be as proud of. A few hours after the collection was presented, Edda Gimnes, a London-based Norwegian designer, posted a statement on her personal Instagram account charging that Scott had copied her work. Gimnes’ work, which also employs motifs and patterns that are reminiscent of the designer’s sketching process, bears striking similarities with the latest Moschino collection. Additionally, it is important to emphasize that Gimnes had allegedly met with someone from the Moschino creative team last November to showcase her work.

Since "copycat" is objectively the least desirable label for fashion designers, Scott took to his personal Instagram account over the past weekend to show references from the Moschino archives that he had supposedly utilized in his designing process. Trompe-l’-oeil, an art technique that creates three-dimensional illusions from two-dimensional works, has effectively been a staple of the Moschino brand ever since it was conceived by its founder Franco Moschino, and Scott attempted to show the inspiration he drew from past campaigns and collections. It is, however, also possible that the creative team at Moschino used Gimnes’ designs as visual aids on their mood board as they brainstormed the theme for the SS '19 collection. The similarities between her work and the clothes Scott paraded on the Milanese runway are uncanny.

This is potentially one further instance of a recent trend of powerful forces in the industry knocking off less visible, independent designers who do not have as big of a voice in the fashion world. The implications of a brand like Moschino copying the work of a lesser-known designer are staggering. It would indeed show that even high fashion brands are guilty of disregarding the importance of original thought when it comes to emerging designers.