Why Dolce & Gabbana is a brand you should NOT support — here are some queer companies you should check out instead
Kris Jenner is a mastermind. Say what you will about her — my litany of grievances is far-far too long to air here — but she’s good at her job. Unfortunately for us (not her, she’s rich!), her chief roles and responsibilities include profiting from attention, scandal, and dare we mention controversy. All too often this comes at the expense of marginalized groups — from the Black women whose aesthetics the KarJenners exploit, the Black men they fetishize for clout, the employees they underpay and mistreat, plus scores of people who are collateral damage in the wake of their empire.
The latest eye-roll-inducing — but no doubt highly lucrative— publicity stunt orchestrated by Kris Jenner is none other than her daughter’s branded wedding. Yes, you heard that right. Branded. Wedding. And the brand of choice? None other than the ceaselessly problematic Dolce & Gabbana.
The Kravis Wedding ushers in a new era of Kardashian squalor
Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker — aka Kravis — were a most unexpected romance of Summer ‘21. And oh, what a summer. Bennifer got back together. Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox ignited their reign of PDA-induced terror. Zoe Kravitz and Channing Tatum confirmed that the coolest boyfriend is the offline boyfriend. A$AP Rocky took Rihanna to Barcade. And the list goes on. Many more celeb couples shocked us, but Kravis signaled a turning point.
Kravis ushered in an era of alt-aesthetics inundating the mainstream. The impact the KarJenner empire has on culture is harrowing. So when Kourtney started dating Travis, became besties with Meg and MGK, then Kim started dating Pete, people everywhere took cues. Pseudo-alternative, post-ironic maximalism is the new Black.
The KarJenners are equally as influenced by trends as they are influential to them. Pop-Punk is back, Y2K fashion has taken on streetwear and now seems to be the dominant trend. And with Kanye fired as their unofficial stylist, the KarJenners have embraced an entirely fresh mode.
If KarJenner’s previous era was firmly established by KimYe’s wedding splashed all over 2013 American Vogue cover, Kourtney’s wedding is the official start of this new one. Gone are the minimalist tones and sleek silhouettes. The slew of D&G outfits donned by the KarJenners at Kourtney’s multiple wedding celebrations is proof.
Why the Dolce & Gabbana branded wedding is gross … in more ways than one
Naturally, a Kardashian wedding is OTT in every way. Naturally, Kris Jenner was looking to make a profit from the excessive celebrations. The world would be watching. And that’s worth a pretty penny.
While it’s unclear how this particular partnership came to be, the motto seemed to be go big or go home. Touches of D&G garb were everywhere.
The brand “hosted” the wedding and its myriad, massively-photographed events. They gifted the family and friends full D&G outfits to wear to each and every circumstance. Then they hosted the wedding party on their personal $14 million yacht. There was even a D&G pop-up in Portofino where those trying to catch a glimpse of the festivities could shop.
Despite the hyper-gaudy and overblown — don’t get me started on the D&G outfits themselves … fashion critics were not pleased — it’s not even the worst of it. D&G’s foundational involvement in the wedding seems like yet another contrived controversy and, therefore, attention. Well played Kris Jenner, well played.
Founded in 1985 by then-married Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, the fashion house is famous for extravagance and maximalism. However … they’re also known for being — ahem — problematic.
From racism and homophobia to impolite comments about IVF, and just downright mean comments, the founders have publicly shown their disregard for many communities. In their personal lives and in their branding, they’ve practiced bullying and exclusion. They’ve even publicly called the KarJenner family “cheap.”
Despite this, they’ve managed to forge a relationship with the family so strong they played a major part in Kourt’s big day. Somehow, the problematic brand continues to be outrageously successful — even among socially progressive Gen Zs who help drive its vintage revival and shop for the brand with pride.
Like the KarJenners themselves, why are D&G immune to controversy? Perhaps their survival as brands, fashion and pop culture mainstays, and even their aspirational ideals are not merely resistant to bad-behavior — but fueled by it.
Brands to support instead of D&G
Despite the media and fashion community’s short memory regarding both D&G and the KarJenner empire’s gross transgressions, I like to put my money where my mouth is.
No matter how many ads for Skims loungewear or Kylie lip kits I see on social media, that’s one family business I will not be supporting.
I buy from smaller and mightier brands — brands whose values I support and whose founders come from marginalized communities …. Rather than exploit them.
In anticipation of pride month — and in fervent disavowal of D&G — here are the best queer-owners brands that actually support the community. And make kick-ass products while they’re at it:
Inspired by the great city, this NYC-founded brand is inclusive and honest. Although they’ve expanded beyond their original skincare line into fragrance and candles and hair care and more, their values haven’t changed. Combining natural ingredients and advanced technology, MALIN+GOETZ’s luxury skincare and fragrances are perfect for conscious, modern individuals. Formulated with diversity in mind, MALIN+GOETZ products are suitable for all skin types and genders and are locally made in the New York area to limit their carbon footprint.
Freck is a game-changing brand in many ways. Their first product was the innovative Freckle Cosmetic that took the internet by storm. Their signature Freckle Pen generates the most natural, longest-lasting faux freckles on the planet. Instead of covering yourself up, Freck’s bold take on skincare and makeup inspires you to embrace what makes you truly unique.
Alder New York is redefining skincare. In a saturated market filled with ineffective products, Alder New York is a woman-owned, queer, independent brand whose products are designed to work for all skin types — no matter your age, gender, or ethnicity. Their vegan products aim to simplify your routine with clean, dermatologist-approved ingredients and high-quality plant-powered extracts.
What’s in a name? When it comes to Boy Smells, their gender-defying mission is in their very name. This cult staple was started in the kitchen where the founders were experimenting with all the items they’d want to use on a daily basis. The result: products that are fluid, essential, yet affordable. Boy Smells goes way beyond the gender binary, they make loving your identity a daily ritual.