Fashion Statement or Plain Offensive?

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Back in October, we witnessed Norbert Baska create ‘migrant chic’ in a recreation of the Syrian refugee crisis for the purpose of fashion. Now, only two months later, a recent shoot featuring Kylie Jenner has caused controversy after she was photographed in a wheelchair.

The star has been heavily criticised by the disabled community as they state, “People with disabilities are already seen as powerless, and this just reinforces that,”. The use of the so called ‘prop’ within the shoot for Interview magazine has posed the question, is the fashion industry going too far to make a statement?

Interview magazine have since defended Jenner’s shoot claiming that the images put “Kylie in a variety of positions of power and control and exploring her image as an object of vast media scrutiny…we celebrate a variety of women who are both the creators and subjects of their artistic work.”

The photographer, Steven Klein, is famous for his edgy shoots and goes against the idea that less is more. He has previously worked with the likes of Madonna and Lady Gaga which I guess just pretty much sums it up.

But Kylie Jenner isn’t the first celeb to cause controversy through fashion. Back in 2014, Pharrell was photographed for ELLE UK magazine in a Native American headdress. Thousands took to social media to brand the cover as ‘racist’ and ‘disrespectful’ as the traditional feather headpiece is a sacred symbol for Native Americans. Pharrell apologised via a representative to the New York Daily News stating, “I respect and honour every kind of race, background and culture. I am genuinely sorry.”

Again in 2014, Buro 24/7 magazine were also accused of racism following an image of  posing on a chair that appeared to be made from a half-naked mannequin of a black woman with its legs in the air. Ms Duma stated, “We are against racism and gender inequality or anything that infringes upon anyone’s rights” To make matters worse, the release of the article coincided with the celebration of Martin Luther King day.

However, Duma went on to state that it was “artwork created by Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard, one of a series that reinterprets art historical works from artist Allen Jones as a commentary on gender and racial politics. Its use in this photo shoot is regrettable as it took the artwork totally out of its intended context”

The fashion world is a controversial scene that attracts the attention of millions daily across the globe. Therefore, if issues and matters need to be raised, surely the fashion industry is the perfect opportunity to make individuals aware of the issues within society such as racism and discrimination.  Instead of taking offence, surely we should be taking note and making a change.

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