Statements by American fashion legend Donna Karan surrounding the Harvey Weinstein scandal have drawn cries of outrage from the South African fashion community.
Gavin Rajah and Marianne Fassler –- two of South Africa's most celebrated fashion designers -- have spoken out about Karan's recent television interview, where she implies that the victims of Weinstein's abuse were "asking for it".
Karan posed the question of how we "present ourselves as women" to the Daily Mail. "What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?"
"She put her foot right into it," designer Marianne Fassler told HuffPost SA. "Imagine saying that women ask for it when they dress inappropriately. How ill-informed and unconnected to the real world. Unfortunately it will impact on the brand, although she doesn't own it any more... Slutwalk here we come."
Rajah went on to Twitter to express his frustration. He said Karan's comments were disrespectful, particularly because women were responsible for the growth of the DKNY brand, which Karan founded.
— GAVIN RAJAH (@GAVINRAJAH) October 10, 2017
"It's this sort of apathy that makes women believe they aren't worthy," Rajah told HuffPost SA on Wednesday, adding: "I can't believe she said what she did."
Celebrities have come out in droves, saying they will not be supporting the brand, or Karan, in future.
Donna Karan you are a DEPLORABLE Aiding and abetting is a moral crime. You are scum in a fancy dress pic.twitter.com/Vze7lnpdvj— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 10, 2017
Karan has since said that her "statements were taken out of context and do not represent how I feel about the current situation concerning Harvey Weinstein.
"I believe that sexual harassment is NOT acceptable and this is an issue that MUST be addressed once and for all, regardless of the individual. I am truly sorry to anyone that I offended and everyone that has ever been a victim," she said.