1000 top fashion figures speak out against rising antisemitism

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1000 top fashion figures speak out against rising antisemitism

Designers Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Donna Karan and Bar Refaeli are among those to sign a letter calling for the industry to do more to tackle the surge in hate

Models, designers, influencers and retail executives are among more than 1,000 signatories to an international open letter calling on the fashion industry to do more to combat antisemitism within its ranks.

Designers Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Donna Karan, Christopher Kane, Rachel Zoe, cosmetics entrepreneur Bobbi Brown and models Bar Rafaeli, Erin O’Connor, Caprice Bourrett and Daisy Lowe are part of the high-profile group Jewish and non-Jewish figures working in fashion who have co-signed the open letter.

Retail executives from Selfridges and ASOS in the UK to the American Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale’s have also signed the letter, which states: “Antisemitism, in any form, has no place in our society, let alone within an industry that prides itself on creativity and acceptance.”

It adds: “Fashion companies and organisations should implement regular mandatory diversity and sensitivity training for all employees, from designers to executives, ensuring a deeper understanding of different cultures and religions, including Judaism.

“Furthermore, transparency is crucial in combating antisemitism and all forms of racism. Fashion companies should denounce any acts of antisemitism and take swift and decisive action against individuals or brands that perpetuate such behaviour.”

Israeli model Bar Refaeli is is one of over 1,000 people to sign the open letter


Creative director Deborah Lyons

The Fashion Against Antisemitism letter was launched in response to the rising incidences of Jew-hate across the world after the Hamas terror attack on October 7. Figures in the industry openly supporting Israel or posting peaceful messages calling for the return of men, women, children and babies held hostage in Gaza by Hamas terrorists, have received antisemitic messages from people working in the industry or on social media.

Deborah Lyons, the creative director of two sustainability brands, called on the industry to do more to protect fashion figures from antisemitic attacks.

“Fashion has always had the power to celebrate diversity and inclusivity, but it is disheartening to witness acts of discrimination and antisemitism within our industry,” said Lyons, who co-ordinated the letter. “Antisemitism, in any form, is inexcusable in an industry that thrives on creativity and acceptance. We must take a stand.”

Lyons, who was told to “go back to Germany and be killed” in response to a social media post calling for peace, said she lost more than 1,000 followers within three days of the attack.

She said: “I, like so many people in the Jewish community, know people in Israel affected by the Hamas attack, including people who have had to leave their homes because or rocket attacks, or whole families that have been wiped out. It’s heartbreaking.”

Leading fashion authority and podcaster Suzy Menkes, the former Editor of Vogue International (2014-2020), also co-signed the open letter.

She said: “The creative industries must be at all costs be free: free from hate speech; from any attempt to influence evil; from any excuse of encouraging wicked thoughts in a whisper or a shout. There is no excuse, no ‘half way’ in right – and wrong.”

Sophie Mechaly, founder of Paul & Joe Paris-based fashion brand, said: “As a Jewish designer, I have personally witnessed distressing antisemitism through social media attacks. It is with great urgency that I join this call for the fashion industry to take more proactive steps in combating antisemitism.”

Signatories to the letter include Caroline Rush of the British Fashion Council, as well as journalists working for British Vogue, The Times and The Telegraph, as well as Elle US and Vogue US.


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