Is Moschino’s Pill-Inspired Collection Social Commentary or Exploitation?
Edgy, modern designer Moschino has always pushed the envelope and borrowed inspiration from current events. Their most recent collection, based around pharmaceuticals, is currently under fire by opponents who say that the brand has gone too far and is glorifying drug abuse. An alcohol and drug counselor from Minneapolis has launched a Change.org petition which calls on Moschino and the CEOs of Nordstrom, which is selling the collection, to remove the drug-themed items and images.
Americans consume about 80 percent of the world’s supply of opioids. “There were about 300 million pain prescriptions written in 2015,” Irina Koffler, senior analyst for specialty pharma at Mizuho Securities USA, told CNBC. Those 300 million prescriptions are about a $24 million market.
However, the U.S. only represents 5 percent of the world population. “If you include Canada and Western Europe, [consumption of global opioid supply] increases to 95 percent, so the remaining countries only have access to about 5 percent of the opioid supply,” said Vikesh Singh, assistant professor of medicine and director of the Pancreatitis Center at Johns Hopkins University.
— Moschino (@Moschino) October 1, 2016
Is Moschino commenting on an important current issue — or capitalizing on the weakness and ruin of many lives?
Before you choose sides on the matter, it is important to remember the old phrase “art imitates life,” and fashion is just that — art. Art borrows from what’s happening around it, and builds upon those ideas. As we have moved further into the new century, you see parallels of fashions from earlier centuries. The beginning of the ’00s included Victorian looks, and as we move further into the teens you see Edwardian-inspired elements.
Not everything is so subtle. Often, rather than reaching back as those designers did, designers either look forward or around themselves for inspiration. In a time when the rich are often over-medicated and the poor have no access to medications they desperately need, a pharma-themed “capsule” collection isn’t off the mark as social commentary. That being said, the same people who can afford a Moschino handbag are the same folks with medical access.
— Moschino (@Moschino) September 27, 2016
Designer Jeremy Scott has yet to comment as publications continue to reach out to him. The brand offers this:
“#JUSTSAYMOSCHINO Moschino presents a new capsule collection inspired by the packaging and instructional inserts of over-the-counter medication, ‘prescribing’ its fans a colorful selection of garments and accessories that reflect Jeremy Scott’s (Moschino’s designer) fun, provocative language.”