But the fashion world’s obsession with juxtaposing the extremely poor with the fashionably rich continues to stare at us shamelessly.
Pakistani designer duo Sana-Safinaz offered a distasteful ad campaign of a model posing with Louis Vuitton luggage alongside poor coolies recently.
It is now Bangalore-based designer Deepika Govind’s invite for the unveiling of her spring/summer 2012 collection that has the same pattern of styling – and which has attracted the same sort of opprobrium.
The invitation to see Govind’s summer 2012 collection carries a picture of a model standing tall in wedge heels and wearing an ensemble made of traditional textiles.
She is posing next to two poor farmers who are looking on in bewilderment.
The only plausible explanation for this is that the designer is encouraging Indian textiles and promoting the livelihood of the farmers.
But making the model stand tall while the farmers look up to her only highlights the unbridgeable gap between the two worlds – those behind the product and those who will eventually be able to afford it.
This kind of usage of poor, famished-looking people as props for fashion labels they will never be able to afford, even with a lifetime of earnings also came under the scanner in 2008.
Back then a similar shoot appeared on the pages of fashion’s self appointed ‘bible’ Vogue India.
More recently, social networking sites Twitter and Facebook were abuzz when Pakistani designers Sana-Safinaz similarly juxtaposed luxury and extreme poverty.
They received a lot of flak for it.
While fashion loves controversy, one can only hope that, in the process, it doesn’t exploit those who aren’t even aware of being part of a bigger debate.
(courtesy: NIMERTA CHAWLA & mailonline India)
- Fashion Fights Poverty hits the runway later this month (fashionofgoodwill.org)
- Hello! to launch Pakistan edition (telegraph.co.uk)