Vogue India - fashion & poverty
man in this Vogue India photo is holding a $200 Burberry umbrella.
When you search for it you’ll find there is an interesting debate going on about fashion and poverty.
Perhaps just as controversial as the Benetton campaigns in the 1990s, the current debate is sparked by an issue of Conde Nast’s Vogue India with a photo-spread featuring traditional rural Indians modeling high end fashion accessories.
An odd and unlikely combination. Most critics call it vulgar.
To them I like to say that it is vulgar only because fashion magazines in essence are vulgar. They promote a lifestyle and a ideal very few people can aspire to. In the process of promoting their glam ideals they succeed in making you feel worthless, ugly and poor.
Critics talk about exploiting the poor:how sad that these people are holding items, so priced and valued by a transnational elite (read: Posh Spice) they themselves could never afford,
These critics should reserve their indignation. Indian people are very beautiful and colorful. (more so than the old Posh herself).Their lifestyles and skills are ancient and have value to them. The model holding the baby with the $100 Fendi bib or the lady toting the $ 10.000 Hermès Birkin bag might in her daily life own livestock and land.
Talking about exploiting the poor: For her sake I hope she is not one of the hundred thousands of women who have been ‘modernized ’ and ‘empowered” to work in the sweat shop industry to produce all those H&M, Zara and GAP clothes we all like to buy. Very few people feel indignation when it comes to getting their garments cheap.
Poverty sucks. Traditional lifestyles have meaning. The best insight into Vogues editorial policy and the Indian reality of poverty comes from an article by Sameer Reddy.
Meanwhile Vogue does what it does: it sells magazines. And the debate continues: war & fashion, poverty & fashion. health & fashion. Read more in future N&T blogs.
in the 80s and 90s benneton campaigns started to blur the divide between fashion and society