"Girls are designing more for themselves and for their girlfriends. They do ruffles and minis and more frou-frou looks. It is for the way that women are dressing today. They are dressing to go out shopping for men. It is cheap and nasty."Apparently, the four males chosen for this year's fashion week are designing garments that are "intelligent", "slick", "stylish" and "classy". Apparently these are (subjective) attributes that female designers are incapable of incorporating into their work.
Then it becomes strange. Rachel Wells of The Age in Melbourne blogged about it, and while there are some outraged comments, some men, and more bafflingly women, have come to Mr Huxley's defence. According to quite a few, there is nothing wrong with these comments.
I do wonder how the female students at the Fashion Design Studio at SIT are feeling. I do wonder how the female teaching staff there are feeling, too. And I do wonder how these comments will wash with the institute's management.
Two years ago a journalism student at UTS interviewed me for an article about this very phenomenon: men claiming they design better for women than women do. He passed me on to this 2005 article in the New York Times. From Tom Ford: "Men are often better designers for women than other women", citing objectivity. If you think that's bad, just wait until you see the comments from Michael Vollbracht. Elsewhere, I remember an article (I think in a 2006 fashion supplement to The Times) Donatella Versace was asked why there seemed to be more succesful men in fashion than women. Her response (more or less, from memory): not many women seemed to study fashion design. Just read the stats in the New York Times article...
On a positive note, at least we know these people still exist in the 21st century, which should empower us to do something about it.