Japanese brand N.Hoolywood showed its latest menswear collection at the recent New York Fashion Week, to what I can only imagine was a gobsmacked audience.

It’s collection was inspired by the homeless – the street people of New York City.

How some people fail to see the difference between right and wrong still astounds me. How is a high end fashion collection that draws inspiration from the disenfranchised and the needy acceptable or appropriate? The literal interpretation is so offensive that it actually fetishises the homeless.

Fashionista explains that show notes were placed on the seats with the following information:

The brand’s designer travelled around the city, spotting the way homeless folk found “clever ideas for covering the necessities of life.” Calling the homeless “innovative”, and their styling of outfits (like using blankets as jackets and plastic bags as waterproof boots) “unconventional layering techniques” is so tone-deaf it’s astounding. The notes also commented on street people’s play on “experimental sizing.”

Seriously?

The clothing, which was luxe and beautiful, was styled in a very literal homeless manner. Also shocking, notes Fashionista, were that the models walked slowly, kind of slumped over, dragging their heels.

Like, are they for real?

As with cultural appropriation, stealing from another culture – one that exists on the fringes of society, marginalised and with very little agency – is despicable. This is not fashion, not art, but an utter disrespect for the poor. By fetishising them, they are being used for others’ gain without profiting themselves.

Being poor is not a trend.