By Costanza Boncompagni Ludovisi

10• 28 • 2018

Have you ever checked a famous influencers comments on Instagram? If you haven’t, you’ll probably be shocked by how easily many people find it to judge and insult behind a screen. In fact, we live in a world where it’s becoming easier and easier to insult others with little to no repercussions.

Such a phenomenon – one of intense vitriol and hatred spewed online in the new digital age – was portrayed by Diesel in their newest Fall campaign revealed during Milan Fashion Week in September. Renzo Rosso, the founder of the the Italian retail clothing company, refers to the hate-filled online communication we’re familiar with today as “trolling culture.”

Not only did he openly talk about online hate during the Maison Margiela Fashion Show in Paris, but he also did so while advertising his new fall campaign which nixes the “u” from the traditional descriptor “Haute Couture” to transform it into “Hate Couture.”

“It’s a bold message towards haters worldwide - and an invitation for everyone to step up, face and own the negative messages we receive every day,” Rosso said about his shocking campaign.  

It’s not surprising to see another provocative campaign be born from the iconic liberal Italian brand, especially after seeing its campaigns from previous years – 2017 saw its politically-charged advertisement entitled “Make Love, Not Walls” and it was in 1995 that the company launched a campaign showing two male sailors kissing. Today, DIESEL is utilizing contemporary digital culture as a way to spread concerns about the issues with which our current generation is dealing.

But Rosso also knows that using pop-stars to deliver that message doesn’t hurt either.

Just as it was promised by Rosso’s invitation that stated “Diesel Is Dead: The Queen is coming” atop a sleek monochrome background, Milan’s Fashion Week unveiled Diesel’s anti-bullying campaign this past September, featuring Nicki Minaj “The Queen.” Alongside the worldwide famous American rapper, Diesel presented its new line with actors Bella Thorne, Tommy Dorfman and Yoo Ah-in together with rapper Gucci Mane and model Jonathan Bellini. Minaj’s appearance on the streets of Italy’s fashion capital gained incredible attention, no doubt due to the 66,000-plus mentions she received on social media during New York Fashion Week just two weeks prior. In other words, her image was everything but unfamiliar, making Rosso’s inspirational campaign attract tremendous public attention on both catwalks and events.

This being said, the rap Queen was able to design her own t-shirt and denim jacket, both bearing hurtful words she’s received from haters on her social media accounts. It was this outfit, coined “The Bad Guy,” that she proudly wore in front of the shooting cameras and her own Instagram posts. “You need people like me. So you can point your finger & say: THAT’S THE BAD GUY!!” she wrote as a caption on one photo.

However, despite being one of the many campaigns that landed in Milan’s Fashion Week this year, Diesel managed to prove once again how fashion is more than just wearing clothes. It showed how a dress or a simple t-shirt can perfectly grasp and express the meaning of respect and self confidence. “Hate Couture” is a statement from which everyone must learn the capability of standing up against those who criticizes you, especially behind the comfortable presence of a screen. In fact, Diesel mentions in one of it’s campaign’s publicity “The more hate you wear the less you care”. In between the lines of this rhyming phrase there is Renzo Rosso’s justification: “There’s so much hate on social media, so many people want to say ‘bulls-t’ against the others, but today we take the opportunity of haute couture to rebalance with the hate.” Moreover, together with illustrating fashion’s power and its worldwide impact, Diesel’s efforts weren’t only shifted towards advertisement and profit. Rosso made sure that a portion of the proceeds from the ‘Hate Couture’ campaign went directly to the brand’s Only the Brave (OTB) Foundation, a non-profit anti-bullying program founded by the company in 2008.

Even though people may resist the idea that wearing a label will help one psychologically digest hatred and criticism, accepting yourself and showing how people’s opinions don’t matter is an act of true confidence and genuine strength. Superiority, indifference and irony are key factors to the ‘trolling culture’ we’re too familiar with today, and Diesel’s “Hate Couture” campaign is one way the fashion industry is working to combat the hate — one black t-shirt at a time.

Photos via Getty Images.