Can Haute Couture Help the Poor?
This month both New York and London Fashion Week featured a special Fashion for Relief show organized by Naomi Campbell to raise money in support of the disaster in Haiti. Basically, I don’t know whether to support the industry providing relief to victims in Haiti or to be offended by the irony of the whole concept.
The entire high-end fashion industry is centered around extravagant clothing and stick thin models. Not only are many women (some of whom are just girls portrayed as much older women) objectified in tight dresses, short skirts, and overly sexy photo shoots. But they are also expected to stay the fragile size they were at 14, walking in dangerously high-heeled shoes.
It really does feel wrong for an industry that revolves so completely around pop-culturized beauty (whatever twisted version it may be) and luxury clothing to be using just that to support people in a devastated country where survival has replaced comfort as a common priority and the lavishness of these fashion events would not quite be understood.
It’s nice that Naomi Campbell and Chirs Brown, one of the celebrity models, have compassion for the Haitian poeple. It might have been appreciated a little earlier by all those employees Naomi beat up with her cell phone and by Rihanna when Chris put her in the hospital. No, no one is discriminating about where the money comes from in the aftermath of a disaster like in Haiti. But it really is such an unfitting and bizarre way to support any part of the third world.