First and foremost, we here at Kontrol magazine are proud to say that we honor the creativity of fashion as an art form. We certainly understand the healthy flirtation between fantasy and malapropos – it’s usually eye catching and aesthetically pleasing to an open mind with a flair for edginess. In the latest issue of Diva Magazine, however, a one designer by the name of Aamna Aqeel failed to set the bar of creative expression very high in a fashion spread titled ‘Be My Slave’ featuring a white woman and a small male child of color.
While most people don’t need such an obvious reminder, this pointed message goes out to Aamna Aqeel. The Pakistani designer has found herself in the middle of a racially charged backlash thanks to her editorial shoot entitled “Be My Slave.”
The International Herald Tribune’s Salima Feerasta felt the need to address the “vile images of racism and exploitation” and deemed the story “inexcusable.” We couldn’t agree more.
Feerasta spoke to Aqueel, who denied any intention of racism in the story. In fact, the designer’s aim was to shed light on the issue of child labor. Aqueel said that the dark-skinned Baloch child was incidental–“He works in a garage and wanted some work.” As Feerasta so pointedly explains, Aqueel’s reasoning doesn’t add up and her message fails for many reasons.
Hmm. Okay so her feature was supposed to bring light to child labor issues in certain parts of the world, yet, she employs a random “working” child to sell a message of disapproval? No ma’am. Try that again. Furthermore, where is the fashion focus in this?
Unfortunately, this occurrence falls along the same lines of many racially charged incidents that take place in the fashion industry today including the constant use of blackface in editorial spreads and the ghostly faces strolling the catwalks.