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Virgil Abloh And Louis Vuitton Condemn Sex Abuse Amid 'Leaving Neverland'

The luxury brand will pull it's Michael Jackson-inspired collection from production. 

Virgil Abloh and Louis Vuitton are speaking up against child sex abuse. Abloh debuted a Michael Jackson-inspired collection in Paris Fashion Week in Jan. 2019, but in the wake of the allegations revisited by HBO's Leaving Neverland, the artistic director announced the luxury brand is pulling pieces of the FW19 line from production.

Abloh released a statement to WWD on Thursday (Mar. 14), condemning child abuse and explaining the motive behind the fall menswear collection. "I  am aware that, in light of this documentary, the show has caused emotional reactions. I strictly condemn any form of child abuse, violence or infringement against any human rights," he said. “My intention for this show was to refer to Michael Jackson as a pop culture artist. It referred only to his public life that we all know and to his legacy that has influenced a whole generation of artists and designers."

Michael Burke, Louis Vuitton’s chairman and chief executive officer, also elaborated on the controversy surrounding the collection, noting that they were "unaware" of the documentary prior to presenting the collection in Paris. "We find the allegations in the documentary deeply troubling and disturbing," Burke told The New Yorker. "Child safety and welfare is of utmost importance to Louis Vuitton. We are fully committed to advocating this cause."

A spokesperson for the French label also confirmed that "no item that directly features Michael Jackson elements" will be available to the public. "The Fall-Winter 2019 Men’s collection has multiple inspirations and will be launched in stores in July," the statement reads.

As previously reported, Leaving Neverland spoke with two men who alleged they were sexually abused by Jackson when they were young. The shocking footage has triggered a worldwide response, both positive and negative. While some networks and organizations have started to remove Jackson-related content from circulation, some supporters have launched protests in their local areas to defend Jackson's innocence.

The singer's family has also denied the allegations and is seeking legal action against HBO and the alleged victims.

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Gucci And Dapper Dan Announce $5M Programming Aimed At Diversity And Inclusion

February was a difficult month for luxury brand Gucci. The legendary fashion house pulled a balaclava sweater from physical and online stores that many deemed disrespectful. The black sweater with a red print around the mouth area was deemed by many as reminiscent of blackface.

With the help of Dapper Dan and other notable celebrities, Gucci is trying to make things right. They recently announced their new Changemakers Council, which according to reports will feature a board that will work together to select inclusive elements of programming. Besides the Harlem designer and Gucci collaborator, DeRay McKesson, will.i.am, writer/activist Brittany Packnett and many more will be part of the Council.

Through this new Gucci Changemakers initiative, the fashion brand and the designer will also introduce the Changemakers Scholarship, which awards a $20,000 grant to selected students over the course of four years. They will also implement the Changemakers Fund, which "is a $5 million fund that will invest in community-based programs, particularly those helping communities of color, in cities across the U.S."

“As a partner, I am proud to work with Gucci and other community leaders to help guide programs that will create meaningful impact for the Black community and fashion as a whole,” Dapper Dan said in a statement regarding the new project. “It is imperative that we have a seat at the table to say how we should be represented and reimagined. Through our work together, Gucci is in a position to lead the overall industry toward becoming a better more inclusive one.”

 

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A post shared by Dapper Dan (@dapperdanharlem) on Mar 17, 2019 at 1:50pm PDT

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Ryan Destiny attends the Def Jam Pre-Grammy 2019 party at Catch LA sponsored by Courvoisier, Puma, Klasse 14 and Tik Tok on February 08, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for Def Jam Recordings)

Ryan Destiny Nabs Fashion Honor At International Women of Power Event

While donning the "lucky" color of green, in a shamrock green suit Ryan Destiny was named a fashion honoree at the International Women of Power Event. The event which took place in Los Angeles awarded Destiny with the "Fashion Queen NSAA Award" presented by Fashion Nova Cares.

The actress who plays the bold and fearless singer Alex on the Fox show Star expressed her delight through her Instagram page. "A bomb way to celebrate #internationalwomensday," the 24-year-old actress started. "Feeling so blessed. The only few words I can come up with to describe the weekend is thank you! Being an honoree is one thing but being in a room with women who are this incredible is beyond inspiring."

 

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A bomb way to start celebrate #internationalwomensday. Feeling so blessed. The only few words I can come up with to describe the weekend is thank you! Being an honoree is one thing but being in a room with women who are this incredible is beyond inspiring. Those are the moments I cherish. All LOVE to @koshiemills @diasporadialogues 🙏🏾 (had to show the failing process of getting pics on a roof) lmao. S/o to my Patna in style @scotlouie. I share this award w you friend<3

A post shared by RD (@ryandestiny) on Mar 11, 2019 at 11:52am PDT

Destiny was not the only celebrity in attendance who received accolades last week, other honorees included comedienne Tiffany Haddish, actress and activist Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, as well as First Lady of Sierra Leone H.E. Fatima Maada Bio, to name a few. The event is meant to celebrate powerful women who have positively influenced Africans worldwide.

Koshie Mills, whom Destiny thanked in her post is the brain behind the International Woman of Power Event. Mills a mother to hotshots Kwame Boateng, from Everybody Hates Chris and model-actor Kofi Siriboe, had this to say about her brainchild.

"This is an opportunity for everyone looking at Africa and its Diaspora to see how African women are not only beautiful, regal, intelligent, powerful and resilient, we are owning our own narrative and reclaiming our Queendom for the world to see," the mother of three said. "When we come together to exhibit pride in our heritage and celebrate one another, we are unmatched and unstoppable."

Learn more about the International Women of Power Event here.

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Kimora Lee Simmons Announces The Return Of Baby Phat

Babyphat is making a comeback! Kimora Lee Simmons announced that she reacquired the company and plans to relaunch the urban streetwear line as soon as this summer.

“I recently just purchased [Baby Phat] back,” the fashion entrepreneur told Bloomberg Friday (March 8). “I’ll be relaunching that and rolling that out this year. For many people who know me, they remember that it’s always been a family journey for me.”

Kimora made the big reveal while discussing International Women’s Day, and the UN Women and Gender Innovation Coalition for Change’s “SHE Innovates” campaign promoting gender equality in the work place.

“It’s very important that you have women on both sides — women as the end user, women as the creator[s],” she explained. “We are such a big consumer, we are responsible for so many of the dollars floating around. We need to take more of that responsibility and own it. And it needs to be targeted towards us.”

The mother of four also shared that her daughters, Ming Lee Simmons, 19, and Aoki Lee Simmons, 16, will be helping her run the revamped company. The sisters became a fashion  fixture on the Baby Phat runway closing out the shows along with their mom.

The women’s fashion line was founded in 1999 by Kimora and her ex-husband Russell Simmons, under the Phat Fashions imprint, which also housed Phat Farm. With Kimora at the helm, Baby Phat became one of fashion's premiere women's streetwear brands bringing in $1 billion in sales, according to Women’s Wear Daily.

In 2004, the Kellwood Company acquired Baby Phat for $140 million. Kimora served as creative director of the line from 2004 until 2010. Baby Phat's popularity is due in part to its support from hip-hop and R&B artists including Lil' Kim, Mary J. Blige, Destiny’s Child, Alicia Keys, and more. But the surge of major fashion companies like Moschino, Fendi, and Marc Jacobs, making collections that appeal to, and appropriate from, hip-hop culture, shows the influence of Baby Phat’s design aesthetic.

With this year being the 20th anniversary of the line, the timing is “perfect” to excavate a brand that “still resonates with people and lives deep in their soul,” Kimora told WWD. The line is described as a “mainstream sportswear” collection targeted to Millennials, and will include “retro” elements. “We’re working fast and furiously and have a lot up our sleeves.”

Fans can expect to see the return of Baby Phat’s signature rhinestone cat symbol, but the reboot will also feature a mixture of nostalgia and “new messaging.”

 

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