Elle Magazine is a big, famous fashion magazine that isn't Vogue and is owned by Hearst. Joe Zee is the magazine's in-house "fashion powerhouse, celebrity stylist, and creative director" famous celebrity person with his own TV show and is a fairly public figure.
Well, today, he is a fairly public figure because he put up a Fall Trends report endorsing something called "North Korea Chic." True story! And we know this because a guy who writes for the Washington Post about North Korea, Max Fisher, saw it first.
North Korea is closely associated with its treatment of its own civilians, unknown thousands of whom are thought to live in vast prison camps, sent there sometimes for crimes no more serious than having a distant relative flee the country. The words "North Korea" are practically synonymous with "human rights abuses," which makes it an odd choice for Elle's list of fashion trends. That multiple staffers at the magazine would presumably see this item going through production without thinking to stop it makes one wonder whether they are unaware of North Korea's reputation or simply don't see it as important enough to get in the way of their clever fashion coinage.
OH PLEASE. Does Max Fisher not know that dicatorial psychopaths and their movements have played an important role in culture's history of militant swag? Whatever, Max Fisher (and people in North Korean labor camps).
Except, not. And while we're all for edgy humor around here, the problem with Joe Zee's fall trend forecast is that he's not really being satirical here, with this one. If he is, it's a pretty hard read, considering its surrounded trendcasting Elle is serious about.
Finally, you know what guilty people do when they feel guilty? They try to disappear shit.
As in, now you see it:
Yeah, looks like Elle made that page go away, like, in the last hour or so.
Except, the Internet remembers everything. Elle, please leave the writing of funny shit to anyone else. Also, please don't endorse dictatorial regimes who regularly engage in human rights abuses as contemporary style movements. And when you do, don't make it go away, because we'll find it and put it on the Internet and laugh at you.
We've emailed Joe Zee at Elle for comment, some kind of defense, pretty much anything he'd like to tell us about this one. As for Hearst flacks, their statement is pretty boilerplate:
We regret the reference to North Korea in our post on the season’s military trend, and have removed the image. We apologize to those we offended.
Hilariously, they also try to credit the New York Post with praising their market editorials in the same statement. Which is funny because if Kim Jong-Un were to read a newspaper, it'd probably be the New York Post. Just sayin.