Unbuttoned: Fashion’s Year in Cultural Don’ts

Of all the fashion trends that came and went this year, including 1980s shoulders, 1990s grunge and all things Meghan Markle, perhaps the most unrelenting was the prevalence of cultural missteps. They happened high, they happened low, they happened almost every season.

Instead of getting better, it seems as if the offenses are getting worse. Just consider the fact that the year began with a monkey problem and ended with a blackface brouhaha. (Not the Megyn Kelly one.)

I kid you not.

The second week of January, H&M got in trouble for an advertisement featuring a young black boy in a green hoodie inscribed with the words “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.” Charges of racism flew. The Weeknd cut ties with the company and announced it on Twitter. There were protests in South Africa, and stores were temporarily closed. H&M pulled the ad and apologized.