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Getty Images / Jason LaVeris

Author and podcaster Bret Easton Ellis has written a new op-ed for Vogue Italia criticizing fashion’s new wave of inclusivity, cancel culture, and what he refers to as a “millennial group-think.” An excerpt of the essay has been published by The Business of Fashion.

The author has a complicated, almost contradictory, relationship with fashion, at once satirizing the perceived shallowness of the industry in 1991’s American Psycho and 1998’s Glamorama, but also collaborating with labels such as Saint Laurent to direct video campaigns.

In the op-ed, Ellis is particularly critical of recent changes in the fashion industry that have seen it pivot from a relatively private and exclusive world to one that is becoming broadly more inclusive. Ellis draws particular attention to the move away from the more homogenous beauty standards of the ’90s era that provided the backdrop to a lot of his work.

“Few people in the mid ’90s, when Glamorama is set, had access to the glamorous and enigmatic world of fashion. Except for the designers themselves and their models, fashion editors and certain celebrities, it was a closed-off world only glimpsed in magazines and the occasional video… It stressed the superior individuality of the designer and also the individuality of the models who wore the clothes. The Supermodel: impossibly beautiful women and men who were the dazzling faces that dominated and defined the industry in the 1990s; goddesses and gods, not unlike the models that roam Glamorama. Their beauty made them incredibly exclusive — they didn’t look like anyone else and this was what made them so special — and their world was exclusive as well, which is what made it so unbearably alluring. This world does not exist today.”

Ellis continues by lamenting the rise of cancel culture, assuming the stance that if anyone claims not to find a plus-sized model attractive, they will be dismissed as uninclusive. Ellis suggests this is hypocritical of a generation that claims “everyone is beautiful” while many of its number are also getting plastic surgery in their 20s.

“What would Glamorama look like today in a culture seemingly obsessed with inclusivity and the idea of groupthink over the individual and valuing ideology over aesthetics? Where a sizeable faction thinks everyone should be equal with one another? And yet, this is also a world where girls and boys in their twenties get plastic surgery, turning their natural features into squinty-eyed rictuses.

This is a world where the body-positivity movement says all bodies are beautiful and if you don’t find a heavy-set woman or a plus-sized model attractive, you are in fact body-shaming her and need to be canceled. If everyone is beautiful then nobody is beautiful. But the groupthink of millennials doesn’t realize this yet. Or maybe they do and they’re not as earnest as we think — perhaps they’re just trolling.”

You can read the excerpt by heading to The Business of Fashion and the full essay by picking up the July 2019 print issue of Vogue Italia.

On this episode of The Dropcast, we are joined by Jabari “Jacuzzi” Khaled, founder of Basketball Skateboards and under-the-radar creative who’s worked with your favorite designer’s favorite designers.

Words by Max Grobe
Associate Fashion Editor