Chanel Ignites Controversy Upon Appointing its First Head of Diversity and Inclusion Chief

Throughout the past few years, diversity and inclusion has become the pinocle point of importance for most industries, particularly the fashion industry. Mitú reports the fashion industry is notorious for safeguarding and creating “a lack of diversity in its designers, models and photographers.” Trailing the steps of major luxury brands, French fashion house Chanel appoint its first Head of Diversity and Inclusion.


According to Business of Fashion, Fiona Pargeter will be taking on this new role. Pargeter’s previous role was Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Swiss Bank UBS in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.


A variety of luxury fashion houses such as Gucci, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana have testified and claimed to undergo impactful changes to become more diverse and inclusive companies, to craft a community whereby being different is absolutely fine.


Which is of course due to plethora of backlash received regarding their racial scandals and campaigns which entail Gucci’s black turtleneck which referenced a blackface character, and Dolce & Gabbana designer Stefano Gabbana’s racist comments via social media.


The list goes on and on. In order to somewhat be ahead of the curve, Chanel has taken the opportunity to make structural changes to drive the house’s existing diversity and inclusivity efforts. However, unlike the other fashion houses, Chanel’s hire is particularly different (and not in the diverse kind of way).  


Chanel’s thought process is, certainly… Interesting


Prior to this new role, Chanel’s People & Organisation department directly dealt with diversity initiatives, which was a rookie mistake, as they did not have any actual experience regarding cultural insensitivity. Chanel simply left their people communications and engagement leader to deal with diversity issues, which evokes how little they cared about actual diversity and inclusion.


However, their new recruitment is supposedly to be a ‘sign of their commitment to create momentum for their efforts’. This would have completely made sense if Chanel hired a member of an actual minority, someone who has a different cultural perspective.


I’m aware the position does not necessarily need to be filled with a minority representative however, it does make you think if this is another failed attempt at diversification. The fashion industry persistently breeds controversy and is always under heat from public scrutiny. 


Therefore, was hiring Pargeter an attempt to escape these ramifications or is she actually the best person for the job?


Diversity isn’t rocket science!


Diversity’s simple. It’s literally the state of being diverse therefore, having a range of different opinions incorporated in brand marketing. This somewhat helps to eliminate cultural insensitivity. Mitú reports their profound confusion as to whether someone who isn’t a POC (person of colour) un