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Is Moschino’s Pill-Inspired Collection Social Commentary or Exploitation?

Moschino's Capsule Collection S/S17

Moschino’s Capsule Collection S/S17

Edgy, modern designer Moschino has always pushed the envelope and borrowed inspiration from current events. Their most recent collection, based around pharmaceuticals, is currently under fire by opponents who say that the brand has gone too far and is glorifying drug abuse. An alcohol and drug counselor from Minneapolis has launched a Change.org petition which calls on Moschino and the CEOs of Nordstrom, which is selling the collection, to remove the drug-themed items and images.

Americans consume about 80 percent of the world’s supply of opioids. “There were about 300 million pain prescriptions written in 2015,” Irina Koffler, senior analyst for specialty pharma at Mizuho Securities USA, told CNBC. Those 300 million prescriptions are about a $24 million market.

However, the U.S. only represents 5 percent of the world population. “If you include Canada and Western Europe, [consumption of global opioid supply] increases to 95 percent, so the remaining countries only have access to about 5 percent of the opioid supply,” said Vikesh Singh, assistant professor of medicine and director of the Pancreatitis Center at Johns Hopkins University.

Is Moschino commenting on an important current issue — or capitalizing on the weakness and ruin of many lives?

Related: New Study of Fatal Crashes Suggests Patients Prefer Pot Over Opioids When It’s Legal

Before you choose sides on the matter, it is important to remember the old phrase “art imitates life,” and fashion is just that — art. Art borrows from what’s happening around it, and builds upon those ideas. As we have moved further into the new century, you see parallels of fashions from earlier centuries. The beginning of the ’00s included Victorian looks, and as we move further into the teens you see Edwardian-inspired elements.

Not everything is so subtle. Often, rather than reaching back as those designers did, designers either look forward or around themselves for inspiration. In a time when the rich are often over-medicated and the poor have no access to medications they desperately need, a pharma-themed “capsule” collection isn’t off the mark as social commentary. That being said, the same people who can afford a Moschino handbag are the same folks with medical access.

Designer Jeremy Scott has yet to comment as publications continue to reach out to him. The brand offers this:

“#JUSTSAYMOSCHINO Moschino presents a new capsule collection inspired by the packaging and instructional inserts of over-the-counter medication, ‘prescribing’ its fans a colorful selection of garments and accessories that reflect Jeremy Scott’s (Moschino’s designer) fun, provocative language.”


Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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