Carrie Bradshaw’s Fast Fashion Scandal

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Around the production of HBO’s Max’s Sex and the City remake And Just Like That, a whole cottage business has sprung up.

Carrie Bradshaw's Fast Fashion Scandal
Carrie Bradshaw’s Fast Fashion Scandal

The on-set appearances of different characters—from Natasha (Bridget Moynihan) to Anthony Marentino (Mario Cantone, a fox)—are breaking news for those of us who watched live on Sunday evenings, the typical HBO fuzz luring us into a fresh show. Then there are the clothes, which will be documented in 2021 by dedicated Instagram accounts (@justlikethatcloset currently has 52,600 followers and climbing) and examined by a social media sphere that did not exist during Sex’s initial run. When the series finale aired in 2004, Twitter had not yet been founded.

The newest chapter in the set’s sartorial saga: fans appalled by the sight of Carrie Bradshaw wearing—gasp—fast fashion. Sarah Jessica Parker was spotted in character in New York this week, wearing what seems to be a paisley Forever 21 maxi dress layered over a blue oxford shirt. Yes, she paired it with a Gucci x Balenciaga “Hourglass” bag and Terry DeHavilland platform sandals, but fans couldn’t help but wonder why the noted designer devotee, a woman who found herself on the verge of financial ruin despite possessing a $40,000 Manolo Blahnik collection, was wearing a mall brand. Is Carrie still Carrie?

It is possible to style a high/low blend. On the one hand, Carrie has long been chastised for her closet’s implausibility in light of what we know about writerly finances. (She is also embroiled in a nasty divorce fight with Mr. Big, another financial mishap, according to a leaked screenplay.) Perhaps Carrie—who, according to reports, produces a podcast in And Just Like That—is finally dressed modestly. However, a fast-fashion dress is not only a quick fashion dress; for others, it is also a concerning indicator that the consumer is not thinking more critically about the consequences of rapid fashion. While And Just Like That features re-wears, such as Carrie’s famed blue Manolos, “it is truly a crime for her to be wearing fast fashion at a time when sustainability is so critical and ethical treatment of garment workers is a major issue in this industry,” one former fashion editor wrote on Instagram.

The outfit’s qualities are likewise debatable. “The look-in issue is simply…not acceptable,” Mic reported this week. “It’s just too busy and disorganized, and not in the aesthetically deliberate manner in which [Patricia Field] styled Carrie.” The ensemble serves as a reminder to some spiraling fans that Sex and the City’s rebellious-genius costume designer, Patricia Field—creator of Carrie’s opening-credits tutu and smash smashes like the Dior newspaper dress—will not be involved in the remake. It’s an omission that’s almost as obvious as Kim Cattrall’s absence as Samantha. The field had started to WWD that she was already committed to season two of Emily in Paris; Molly Rogers, who formerly worked in Field’s business and on SATC, has taken over.

Carrie and company should be wearing clothes that are not just ethical and ecological, but also inclusive and intelligent, not only Fendi baguettes but Telfar bags, in a post-pandemic New York, amid a movement for racial and social justice. At the conclusion of each retro episode, cue the clicking of Carrie Bradshaw‘s computer keys. Now it’s our time to speculate: As the fashion world outside of Sex and the City changes, will Sex and the City also change?