I have just seen the images from the 16-page spread from Vogue India‘s August edition and can’t quite believe my eyes and can completely understand and concur with the recent uproar.
The spread features toothless, skeletal figures from the streets of India bedecked in designer accessories such as a (very pricey!) Fendi baby bib, a £7/8,000 Hermès bag and a Burberry umbrella. As Kanika Gahlaut quite rightly pointed out, when there are tradesmen committing suicide over debt issues in this country, is it really fair to photograph them sporting items that they could only ever dream of owning and products which quite probably have some connection to their unfair trade in the complex web of production.
The images pose such an ugly paradox as it is through such dishonest trade and skewed ideas of hierarchy that the civilians photographed are working so relentlessly for such meager gratitude whilst the hungry victims of consumption can feed their greedy desires.
The concept was supposed to be promoting the notion that fashion is no longer a privilege and can be taken adavantage of by anyone of any social standing however, I could definitely think of less offensive ways of exploiting such a powerful and truthful mantra.
Talk about rubbing their nose in it! Bad move Vogue India, bad move.