Fashion world rallies behind editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson after Kanye West backlash

The rapper mocked the renowned editor’s appearance after she criticised his runway show

Kate Ng
Wednesday 05 October 2022 15:13 BST
Kanye West walks with Balenciaga's models in mud pit for Paris Fashion Week show

The fashion world has rallied behind editor and stylist Gabriella Karefa-Johnson following a barrage of insults by Kanye West.

Karefa-Johnson, creative director of Garage magazine and associate fashion editor of Vogue, criticised the Donda rapper for his inclusion of T-shirts with the slogan “White Lives Matter” in his Yeezy SZN 9 runway show on Monday (3 October).

In response, West posted two now-deleted photographs of Karefa-Johnson and mocked her appearance, adding that she was “not a fashion person”.

Since then, major fashion figures have stepped in to defend the editor, with many hitting out at West for singling out and “bullying” her.

In a statement issued on Instagram, Vogue said the magazine “stands” with Karefa-Johnson and accused West of “bullying” her.

The statement also revealed that the editor and West have met to talk about the public spat.

It read: “[Karefa-Johnson] was personally targeted and bullied. It is unacceptable. Now more than ever, voices like hers are needed and in a private meeting with Ye today she once again spoke her truth in a way she felt best, on her terms.”

It comes after West also wrote in a post that he and Karefa-Johnson had a conversation on Tuesday evening and attended a dinner with other celebrities together.

He claimed that Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour had their discussion filmed by Elvis director Baz Luhrmann and that the pair “took pics and I was instructed not to post them”.

West has received widespread backlash for his runway show, which featured Black models walking while wearing the “White Lives Matter” T-shirts.

Amid his attacks on Karefa-Johnson, who branded the show “indefensible”, models Gigi Hadid and Linda Evangelista, as well as actors Jaden Smith and Jodie Turner-Smith have spoken out.

Hadid described West as a “disgraceful man” for mocking the renowned editor, while Evangelista posted a single black square to her Instagram profile that reads: “Black Lives Matter.”

Meanwhile, Smith, who was in attendance at the show but walked out, said in a now-deleted tweet: “I can’t stand behind what Kanye’s saying, he does not have the full support of the youth.”

Turner-Smith had harsher words for the rapper, branding the stunt as “fake and disgusting”.

The Without Remorse star, who is also a model, said in an Instagram Story: “I thought he said he was trying to bring people together??? Fake and disgusting and embarrassing.

“Please go touch some grass and stop sharing your toxic thoughts,” she added.

Other figures in the industry who have spoken out include photographer Quil Lemons and Vanity Fair’s fashion director Nicole Martine Chapoteau.

Lemons said “Black people in fashion… bend over backwards to try and support [West]”, while Chapoteau commented that West was “obviously intimidated by [Karefa-Johnson’s] intelligence and brilliance”.

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