Fashion

Drugs On The Runway: Looking Back At The Industry’s Relationship With Addiction

Introduction:

The strangest thing about glamor is it’s addictive – the lure of endless fame, success and money. Every night on the Runway dreams become reality, models become celebrities, and designers become Gods. But what happens when the spotlight finally fades, and the after parties begin?

The Fashion industry’s obsession with drugs is almost historical, with industry giants constantly using drugs for inspiration, naming entire collections, even shows over the same.

Andrew Groves’ 1999 runway show, ‘Cocaine Nights’ and Jeremy Scott’s Moschino Capsule Collection are only minor examples in the long-list of designers who decided to take inspiration from drugs.

But that is precisely what piques the curiosity – are drugs the real problem or the industry that can’t seem to stop endorsing the addiction culture?

Let’s find out. Shall we?

The Fashion Industry’s Obsession With Addiction

Let’s be honest. Drugs and fashion share a much better relationship than Bootcut denims and crop tops ever shared.

In fact when supermodel Kate Moss was photographed snorting Cocaine sometime in 2005, she was literally taking one for the team. Because one of the worst-kept secrets of all time is how the fashion industry is fueled by Cocaine.

One industry insider had even confessed to the British newspaper, Independent at the time, “Models use coke like truck drivers do.”

And if that wasn’t enough, there was more.

While one source made a problematic comparison between models seeking drugs for performance-enhancement and athletics doing the same with steroids, another sympathizer blamed the long hours and said that drugs help models “to stay awake and keep working.”

What’s even stranger is how Kate Moss’ photographs have attained an iconic status, so much so that the artist Stella Vine curated an entire artistic experience out of these photos.

Named ‘The Beautiful And The Damned’ after Fitzgerald’s popular novel of the same name, the name is funnily enough nostalgic of Moss’ 30th birthday party theme.

Stella Vine’s Beautiful And The Damned exhibition featured four paintings of Kate Moss inspired by that one viral media photo. This is a classic example of the industry’s obsession with two things –

  • Substance abuse.
  • Treating substance abuse as a cultural experience.

The popularity of substance abuse treatment centers have only made the plea for recovering addicts stronger.

This further probes into the intricacies of how art is viewed – a hallucinatory substance-inspired experience or a social and cultural rite of passage for newcomers and veterans alike?

Famous And On Coke: A Trend

Years ago Sophie Anderton once commented about the industry’s addiction to drugs, “Drugs are so accessible within the industry, and it is very difficult to steer completely clear of them.”

She was perhaps right because Kate Moss definitely did not lose out on any major contracts with big Fashion houses like Chanel and Dior.

In fact, brands were probably all right with what happened to Moss. If she died overdosing on some kind of a substance, even better. Because then Moss would be an even bigger icon. Look at what Stella Vine did! That was 17 years ago. It’s 2022 and the industry still can’t get over their addiction woes!

So we decided to check out a few famous celebrities from the fashion world who just won’t end their toxic relationship with drugs.

  1. Anna Nicole Smith

Toxic relationships often have the power to end you if you don’t end the same. And that’s exactly what happened to the gorgeous Anna Nicole Smith.

Although she had claimed all addiction rumors involving her were untrue, her untimely death in 2007 from overdose proves otherwise.

The American model worked with several lifestyle brands in her lifetime, acted in films like Skyscraper, To The Limit, and even had her own show called The Anna Nicole Show.

It’s always heartbreaking when substance abuse takes a life, but Smith’s denial made things only worse for her.

  1. Alice Dellal

The British-Brazilian model also happens to be a terrific photographer. But that is not why she has appeared on this list.

The model was only 20 when the media caught her with lines of white powder, a hollowed out tube, and an oyster card – everything that you need for snorting some coke.

And this was not the only time Alice Dellal’s photographs were more provocative than the audience was prepared for.

There were more like the one where she was seen wrapping coke, or the one where she is lying down on the floor after a night of hard partying.

Has things changed?

No!

  1. Naomi Campbell

If there is anyone more famous than Kate Moss when it comes to substance abuse then it has to be none other than Naomi Campbell.

Let’s make this clear – we don’t need to make assumptions based on media photographs. There have been way too many arrests, rehab stints, and even manager management sessions for the former supermodel.

Campbell herself confessed that drugs were not her only addiction, alcohol was a big temptation too. She even went on record to say, “I never thought I was an alcoholic, but it goes hand in hand with the drugs. Emotionally, I was just gone.”

  1. Jael Strauss

It was certainly a moment of ‘No, not you too’ when the former America’s Next Top Model contestant was seen in Dr Phil’s show where she discussed her addiction to Meth.

She spoke at length about how she came to depend on substances more and more while dealing with the death of a friend.

Jeal looked dramatically different from how she appeared on America’s Next Top Model – marked-up skin, rotten teeth, swollen face, it was just too shocking to witness what long-term substance abuse can do to the human body.

The only good thing?

Yes, apart from teaching her how to stop smoking for good, Dr Phil was able to help out Strauss with the medical care and attention she desperately needs.

The Trope Of The Tortured Artist

The whole image of the tortured artist endorses substance abuse, depression, and emotional instabilites. It is more like a trope than a stereotype where the entertainment industry keeps endorsing the drug culture almost as a way of life. It’s almost like you need drugs for creating great art.

But that’s not true considering all the people who managed to create artistic experiences without any performance-enhancing substances or even the ones who came back stronger after a visit to Rehabilitation centers. If there are many examples of supermodels addicted to drugs, you know what’s more?

The number of celebrities who came back, clean and strong – from Bradley Cooper, Eminem, Robert Downey Jr. to Demi Lovato and Jamie Lee Curtis, the list is pretty long. So if you think there’s someone close to you trying to battle addiction then remember time is of essence – the earlier you seek help, the better for you. If these celebs could do it, why can’t you?


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