Dolce & Gabbana's Co-Founder Grossly Responds to Body Image Backlash

April 27th 2017

Almie Rose

Dolce & Gabbana is getting backlash for a shoe design — and it was made even worse by the designer's comments.

Stefano Gabbana, co-founder of the Dolce & Gabbana fashion house, posted an image of a shoe design on his Instagram account on April 23. The sneaker, which looks like it's been doodled on, features the message, "I'm thin & gorgeous."

Some users were quick to point out that this sends a narrow message about what is considered beautiful.

"Thin and gorgeous? That sounds biased!" one person wrote as a comment. Another wrote, "You don't think it's a little unresponsible [sic] to push a message of 'Thin and gorgeous'? I hope this will be followed by a message of inclusion of all bodies?" Someone else wrote: "thin?! I'm disappointed!"

Claire Mysko, CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association, explained why the statement was problematic to Yahoo Style:

"Though there may be an element of cheeky humor at play in the design of these sneakers, equating thinness and beauty with success and status is a message that hurts everyone. The fashion industry has a long history of glamorizing the thin ideal, and this message is one more example of the industry’s insistence on placing thinness on a pedestal. From billboards to social media, we live in a media-saturated environment that shapes how we see ourselves and others. When the prevailing message is thin is good, gorgeous is good, that becomes our priority, often at the expense of our health and well-being."

Recently, many models have been coming out on Instagram fighting against the beauty standards the fashion industry thrusts upon them, explaining how the demand to be thin made them not only miserable, but dangerously unhealthy.

As model Liza Golden-Bhojwani wrote of the above photo, she was subsisting on only 500 calories a day and was literally starving herself but "still I wasn't fit enough for the likes of Victoria's Secret or other brands."

But Gabbana's response to the criticism was to accuse Instagram users of being "idiots" and "full of cholesterol."

"When idiocy distorts reality!!! incredibile [sic]!!!! Next time we'll write LOVE TO BE FAT AND FULL OF CHOLESTEROL," he wrote, Teen Vogue reported. He then proceeded to call out individual Instagram comments with personal insults. "Darling you prefer to be fat and full of cholesterol ??? I think u have a problem," he wrote to one woman.

To the woman who asked him if his post would be "followed by a message of inclusion of all bodies" he responded with, "u think is better to be fat full of hamburger??? Stupid."

"You're allowed to use your creative direction to say what you please but you're literally bullying people in the comments," one user then pointed out. "You're old, and that behavior is for children."

Strangely enough, Gabbana dressed Melania Trump, who made the fight against online bullying her first mission as first lady.

"Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough," she said in a speech on Nov. 3. "[W]e have to find a better way to talk to each other, to disagree with each other, to respect each other. We must find better ways to honor and support the basic goodness of our children, especially in social media. It will be one of the main focuses of my work if I'm privileged enough to become your first lady."

Trump wore Dolce & Gabbana in her official White House portrait, which Gabbana posted on his Instagram along with "#DGWoman BEAUTIFUL."

Meanwhile, the designer responded to another Instagram user critical of his shoe design with a simple, "k idiot."