Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Isn't Fashion Supposed to be Out of Touch?

People were understandably upset when Vogue India, in one of its first issues, did a multi-page fashion spread which featured ordinary Indians - people who earn about $1.25/day - sporting $10,000 handbags and $200 bibs.

The editor-in-chief breezed past objections to the tasteless display, saying "We weren’t trying to make a political statement or save the world." (which begs the question of what exactly they were doing, eh?) She also seems deliberately obtuse - or just idiotic - when she says the pictures were supposed to prove that "fashion is no longer a rich man’s privilege. Anyone can carry it off and make it look beautiful." I mean, these people won't earn the cost of a Birkin bag in their lifetimes, so how exactly is fashion not a rich man's privilege?

But my question is: why is it any crueler to put a ridiculously expensive piece of leather on a starving Indian farmer than a starving 12-year-old American girl who dreads hitting puberty, or a 15-year-old who hasn't had her period in over a year?

Bono can do a line for GAP, sure, but that doesn't mean that high fashion is any less superficial or out of touch.

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