You know how the lazier members of the fashion world tend to use controversy to sell clothes rather than doing so via quality, creative campaigns? Introducing Pakistani designer Aamna Aqeel, whose ‘Be My Slave’ photo shoot for Diva magazine has
ignited debate pissed everybody who justifiably dislikes the use of slavery depictions for monetary gain and notoriety.
A relatively new designer, Aqeel apparently feels the need to utilize images of colonialism and servitude to shock and awe the fashion community into giving her a bit of controversial attention. I wish I didn’t have to presume things of this nature, but honestly, there are few genuinely plausible reasons behind putting a white woman in designer clothing and a young dark-skinned male in such poses together.
Naturally, the designer designs any negative or racist intent, stating that the use of a darker child was coincidental and that “he works in a garage and wanted some work.” Oh, and that she was just trying to initiate discussions on child labor. You guys just don’t get it; she wasn’t selling clothes, she was selling morality!
Salima Feerasta of the Tribune wrote about why this explanation falls short:
It’s facetious of the designer to claim that she was trying to stimulate a debate on child labour. The model wearing her clothes is clearly comfortable with her dominant position. She is not made up in a way that shows her to be the villain of the piece. The use of a dark skinned child in a shoot entitled “Be My Slave” certainly reeks of racism, however much the designer may deny it. And if anything, the shoot seems to condone child labour.
It would be different if Aqeel were an anonymous photographer or artist of some sort who wasn’t trying to sell any product, but this isn’t the case. Aamna Aqeel is a designer, and ‘Be My Slave’ is an advertisement with a pretty model and pretty clothes and a very, very ugly message.
Photos: Aamna Aqeel’s Facebook