This morning at precisely 7:04 am, we here in the Styleite offices got an email letting us know that Gulnara Karimova would be presenting a collection during New York Fashion Week. We didn’t really think much about this because we’d never heard of her or her line, Guli, before. We hadn’t even planned on going until it was brought to our attention that she is the daughter of the dictatorial leader of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov.
Gulnara, who also goes by GooGoosha, has become infamous by her association with her father. She is, of course, a high ranking member of her father’s government — but she’s also known as a wannabe pop star and a rather successful designer. Currently she’s the only designer who was born in Central Asia to have shown twice at New York Fashion Week. She’s also been called, rather unapologetically, “the most hated person” in Uzbekistan.
And that’s because she not only abides the vice grip her father has on the Uzbeki people — she thrives on it. She’s used his power and influence to get almost everything she wants, and if that includes making the people or corporations who stand in the way of what she wants disappear or crumble like puff pastry, so be it. (It’s worth noting that she has been rumored to have ties with the Russian mafia.)
As a result, international human rights activists don’t think Karimov deserves the spotlight shining on her or her designs at the same time “the Uzbek government continues to engage in … torture and forced child labor,” (Uzbekistan is known for its cotton, and has been accused of forcing children to drop out of school to pick said cotton).
Whether her line takes advantage of that labor is unknown, and while we don’t for a moment condone abuses of civil rights, we are sort of morbidly fascinated with what this line could look like. The press release says the collection features “natural silk, organic cotton, leather embellishments, rare Uzbek fabrics such as shoi, and intricate ikat prints.” Generally we like all of those things, but we’re guessing Karimov’s collection would leave an unpleasant taste in our mouths.