My opinion of the fashion industry is not high to begin with, between its encouraging models to reduce their weight to an anorexic level, and overall catering to the most elitist and vain human desires, I find it to be generally rather repugnant. But when the India edition of Vogue magazine released their most recent spread, which features super high end luxury items modeled on lower class Indians, my feelings went from repugnance to shock, horror, disbelief, rage, and incredible sadness. In the most despicable of all the photos, they have modeled a $100 Fendi baby's bib on a child held by a toothless grandmother in a destitute village, where the average family income is $10 a week, most families live in mud huts, and the greatest concern for babies is not bits of food staining their outfit but rather clean drinking water. Really, is there anything I can say that reflects the profound indecency of this photograph? In my view, this photo is only a few ticks above child pornography in terms of its obscenity level. That Vogue chose to publish not just this one, but over a dozen similar shots is beyond my comprehension. When contacted by a reporter for a statement on the offensive nature of the photos, a Vogue representative said people need to "Lighten up" and that “We weren’t trying to make a political statement or save the world.” Its rare, but upon reading those words, Im speechless.
If you would like to read more about this, I will refer you to the original New York Times article on the photo spread.