Former Vivienne Westwood Employee Risked His Job To Get Zendaya Oscars Gown After The Designer Didn't Want To Work With Black Celebs

Zendaya

Former Vivienne Westwood Employee Risked His Job To Get Zendaya Oscars Gown After The Designer Didn't Want To Work With Black Celebs

He says that his boss didn't want to lend to Black celebrities.

Published June 22nd

Zendaya's 2015 Oscars Vivienne Westwood gown was talked about for days following the Awards show. And 5-years later, the iconic moment has resurfaced with racial allegations surrounding a publicist at the famous fashion house. 

Jonathan Valencia, the owner of Pechuga Vintage, reported on his experience working at Vivienne Westwood and revealed that his manager didn't want to lend the gown to Black celebrities.

In an Instagram post, Jonathan wrote: "my boss (ironically a POC herself) approached me one day and told me to stop dressing & pitching pieces to Black celebrities because that wasn't the press that we wanted in Los Angeles."

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Zendaya at the 2015 Oscars in a Vivienne Westwood dress and clutch styled by Law Roach. Back in 2015 when I was working for VW LA my boss (ironically a POC herself) approached me one day and told me to stop dressing & pitching pieces to Black celebrities because that wasn't the press that we wanted in Los Angeles. This was the same woman who had also said some homophobic and classist remarks before so I wasn't the least bit surprised that she was also a racist. When Law requested this Westwood dress for Zendaya as a last minute option I remember having to sneak it out without anyone knowing. It could’ve gotten me fired after all. That afternoon Zendaya wore the dress on the red carpet and the press went wild, they called her, "a modern Lisa Bonet, a Greek Goddess". A moment for Law and Zendaya. A moment that was soon to be marred by yet another racist comment. Giuliana Rancic, a talking head on “Fashion Police” at the time, said that she didn't like Zendaya's hair because it looked like it smelled of patchouli and weed. Zendaya was 18 at the time. Years later and it's sad to see that very little has changed in the fashion industry. BIPOC's continue to be tokenized, underpaid, and underrepresented in fashion because...? Why? BIPOC's can't buy fashion or make it look good enough to sell to others? What's the logic behind that? A rhetorical question that we all know the answer to. So it's time to continue the dialogue and give back. I tracked down the very clutch Zendaya carried that night, the client who purchased the piece donated it to Pechuga and 100% of the proceeds of the sale will benefit @theokraproject. The clutch will be posted on the Pechuga shop site soon but as always feel free to DM me. (Spoiler alert, the racist boss who gave me these orders at VW LA? She got fired.) ✊🏾👨🏽‍💻 #blacklivesmatter #blacktranslivesmatter #theokraproject #vtg4blm

A post shared by Pechuga Vintage (@pechuga_vintage) on

Valencia also mentions that when Law Roach, Zendaya's fashion stylist, requested the look, he had to secretly lend the gown to him without anyone knowing.

"When Law requested this Westwood dress for Zendaya as a last-minute option, I remember having to sneak it out without anyone knowing. It could've gotten me fired after all."

ICYMI: Law Roach and Zendaya made headlines around the world after wearing the gorgeous gown complimented by her faux locs. However, that moment of glory was short-lived as the headlines became about Fashion Police's host Guliana Rancic's offensive comments. She said that Zendaya's hair looks like smells of weed and patchouli oil. 

Although Zendaya was only 18 at the time, she handled herself very well by releasing a statement via Twitter

Valencia has since left Vivienne Westwood and is now the owner of Pechuga Vintage, where he sells vintage items. Some of his clients are the Kourtney Kardashian, Winnie Harlowe, and Keke Palmer. 

He currently has the Vivienne Westwood clutch for sale that Zendaya carried on her big night with all proceeds going towards Black Lives Matter. 

Related | The Internet Has Questions For Luxury Brands With Histories of Racism Who Shared Black Lives Matter Posts

Written by Tira Urquhart

(Photo by Dan MacMedan/WireImage)

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