Awakening

Designer of Dior’s ‘We Should All Be Feminist’ shirts discovered feminism at age 48

Italian fashion designer Maria Grazia Chiuri for Christian Dior. (FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)

Fashion designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, 53, who in 2016 became the first woman to serve as creative director for Dior, has revealed that she “didn’t really discover feminism” until she was “about 48.” Chiuri, who credits her awakening to her daughter, Raquele, made waves across the fashion world after she emblazoned We Should All Be Feminists, the title of Chimamanda Ngochi Adichie’s famous book, onto t-shirts at her first Dior show.

“I was brought up to think a woman could do anything she wanted. That was pre-Berlusconi. It was downhill for Italian women once he came into power. Total objectification,” said Chiuri. “For all those years I worked at Fendi, it never occurred to me to be vocal. It was such an amazing company — and entirely run by the five Fendi sisters. There didn’t seem any need to shout about feminism. I guess I had got very complacent, like a lot of my generation.”

“We’re so conditioned to think the most important thing is to please others, that we don’t always put ourselves forward,” she added. “You have to keep challenging your thinking. That’s the only way to change anything.”

I ❤️️@dior

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Following her feminist awakening, Chiuri said she was further impacted by Trump’s election, and then the still ongoing #MeToo movement. In September 2017, she began rolling out another line of T-shirts — this time featuring the title to Linda Nochlin’s seminal 1971 essay, “Why Are There No Great Women Artists?” And while some critics have accused her of trying to profit off of a rising women’s movement, Chiuri says that “the message is more important than the label.”

“Honestly, this was not about making money,” she said. “Getting Sidney Toledano (Dior’s CEO) to agree to doing a T-shirt wasn’t easy. ‘Dior is not a T-shirt brand,’ I was told. All the profits have gone to charity.”

Read the full story at The Telegraph.

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