Chanel's Desperate Attempt to Stay Relevant

chanel gors to africa, 2022-2023 season

A Look at Chanel's Controversial Practices and Unethical Behavior

As luxury fashion brand Chanel desperately tries to stay relevant in today's ethical and sustainable consumer market, they're turning to new strategies – including their recent show in Dakar, Senegal. But is this really a step towards progress, or just another example of the brand's controversial and unethical behavior?

It's no surprise that luxury fashion brand Chanel is desperately trying to stay relevant in today's world, where consumers are becoming more and more conscious of sustainability and ethics.

In an attempt to appeal to a younger, more socially conscious generation, Chanel held their first-ever show in Dakar, Senegal in December 2022, the first time any European or US fashion house has held a show in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Chanel in Dakar Senegal 2022

On the surface, this may seem like a positive move towards cultural exchange and community engagement. However, it's important to remember that Chanel is no stranger to controversy and unethical practices.

For years, the brand has been criticized for their use of exotic animal skins in their luxury handbags, including snakes, crocodiles, lizards, and stingrays. In fact, just last year, Chanel was called out for selling a crocodile skin handbag for $38,000. Despite announcing their plans to stop using exotic skins in December 2018, it's clear that the brand is still relying on the allure of these materials to sell their products.

Chanel crocodile bag

It's not just their treatment of animals that has been called into question. The brand has also been accused of appropriating creative communities and profiting off of their authenticity and cultural traditions.

This is evident in their show in Dakar, where they invited local creatives and writers to participate, but ultimately used them to elevate Chanel.

Chanel closing in Dakar

It's a shame that a brand that was once known for its practical fashion for women has become a symbol of elitism and the disconnection of the wealthy from the struggles of the poor.

But perhaps the most ironic part of it all is that the brand's founder, Coco Chanel, built her empire on practical, functional fashion for the modern woman.

Chanel use real leather - calfskin 2022

Bag made of calfskin

And yet, here we are, with Chanel still using animal leather in their luxury handbags and doing little to acknowledge the harm they've caused to the local communities and animal kingdom.

It's time for Chanel to take a hard look at their practices and make a genuine effort towards sustainability and ethical sourcing. As the fashion industry becomes increasingly political, it's important for brands to recognize their impact and do their part to create a more just and sustainable world. Until then, it's hard to take Chanel's so-called "commitment" to cultural exchange and community engagement seriously.