Aussie fashion designer who made waves by creating custom-made shirts for women
AUSTRALIA’S most iconic fashion brand, Godfrey Men’s Wear, has been criticised for its latest designs.
The company has created custom-designed shirts for many celebrities, including actor David O. Russell, who has sold out all three of its stores in Australia.
But the company’s latest design, which the fashion house unveiled on Friday, appears to be an attempt to take a different tack, and has been labelled sexist and racist.
The shirt, which is a collaboration between Godfrey, the brand’s owner and Russell, features a blue and red colour scheme and a white and gold stripe across the chest.
It features a printed logo in black letters, with a stylised red and white star in the centre, and the words “Godfrey” printed in red on the front.
The design is the latest attempt by Godfrey to appeal to men in a market where women’s clothing is more limited and is increasingly out of fashion.
Russell, who was born in Queensland and grew up in New South Wales, has a strong following with men and women alike, but he has previously said he is not a sexist person.
He said the shirt was not meant to be sexist, but was more a response to the current political climate.
“It was a response not only to what was happening with the country and politics in Australia, but to the fashion industry, to the general trend of men being less confident in their masculinity, in their values and in their ability to be men,” he said.
The slogan, “Godfathers of fashion”, is a reference to Godfrey founder, Godfather Joseph Godfrey who was a prominent figure in the fashion and entertainment industries, including the Hollywood studios.
The designer, who lives in New Zealand, said the slogan had been a longstanding campaign in Australia and around the world.
“We’ve done that in other countries and around Australia in the past and we’re going to do it here, too,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview.
Godfrey Men, which has been in the Australian fashion market for more than two decades, has previously released a range of women’s fashion collections in the US, with the latest offering featuring an all-black line of women.
It has also launched a range for men, including a collection of “Godfords”, which feature a combination of black and white designs.
“I think there’s a bit of irony that a company that’s made its name in a fashion industry that has had the same kind of politics and politics of men in the last 20 years, that has been trying to take on the world,” Russell said.
He also pointed to his own experiences growing up in the same environment.
“The thing that struck me was that my father was a very religious man and I was taught to be very religious and I had an almost religious upbringing, I don’t know if that’s a coincidence or not, but it was very intense and I never felt like I was being accepted,” he added.
Russell said Godfrey was the first fashion brand he had worn.
“Godfrey was a great first experience for me, I went to the store, and I thought ‘This is a brand that is so different to what I know and like and have been wearing’,” he said, adding the brand was a source of inspiration.
Russell also said the designs were “a bit more reflective of the world we live in” than other brands in the industry.
“They’re a little bit more contemporary, a bit more aspirational,” he explained.
“There’s definitely a lot of women in the brand who are really inspired by the brand and they just want to make a statement, they want to stand out from the crowd.”