This year's Golden Globes outfits all had one thing in common — a whole lot of black fabric. Stars hit the red carpet to protest the recent sexual assault allegations through all-black fashion, and some looks are still causing a stir for political messages. Connie Britton's "Poverty Is Sexist" sweater, for instance, is getting major backlash on social media, but the star is defending her look.
Every person at the Golden Globes had a different reason for slipping on a black ensemble for the event. Heck, E! News even made it a point to ask why the stars chose to wear black, rather than who they were wearing. But Britton chose to wear her reason right on her sleeve.
The star walked the red carpet wearing a black cashmere sweater that had the words "Poverty Is Sexist" embroidered on the front. The top was from a designer Rachelle Hruska MacPherson of the brand Lingua Franca NYC. But the main cause for concern from critics of the ensemble is the price juxtaposed with the message. According to multiple publications, the cashmere sweater is $380, which is odd considering the phrase across the front. Britton, however, is defending her fashion choice though.
"For those concerned with the price of my Globes sweater, I just don't think a $5,000 gown would have added to the conversation in the same way," Britton said in a tweet. "And @linguafrancanyc who designed it, inspired by @ONECampaign, is donating $100 of each purchase to @camfed."
Although the actress didn't comment specifically on the phrase, the term "poverty is sexist" is well-known in activism circles, referring to gender inequality that keeps women from securing livable income. However, many people are seeing the $380 design a bit ironic considering the slogan.
This isn't the only politically-attached slogan to MacPherson designs, either. Other cashmere sweaters by the designer say "Time's Up," "Give A Damn," and "Power To The People." All of the designs are available on the brand's website, except one — the Poverty Is Sexist shirt. The red carpet design is not being sold on the website, which is an important part of the conversation. The sweater was not designed to be sold to the public — although you can request the design through email.
“I never intended to put political statements on these sweaters. [But] after the election, the mood among our embroiderers was dismal to say the least. We have over 45 women sewing [the sweaters’ slogans by hand], all from diverse backgrounds, and many are immigrants to the U.S,” MacPherson said in an LA Times interview.
While there has been much criticism online about the sweaters, others are standing up for the company, which is eco-friendly, fair pay, and employs immigrants to do their embroidering.
“BTW if $380 for hand-embroidered cashmere that supports the source, supports the makers and supports charity bothers you, I hate to tell you some hard truths about every item of clothing you are currently wearing,” Twitter user Mx. Amadi says in a tweet.
Regardless of the ethical origins of the sweater, one truth remains constant. No person living in poverty could ever afford a $380 cashmere sweater. And that fact makes the message impersonal to the person wearing it. Though it's a strong statement to make on the red carpet, the same statement could have been made via an ethically made T-shirt scrawled with Sharpie — and that would cause far less, even with a $100 donation to ONE.
There is no easy right or wrong answers in this debate. But Britton's fashion certainly started a conversation. Just maybe one she didn't intend to begin.