Slavery Is Still Not An Acceptable Theme For Your Fashion Spread

Still isn’t, never was, and what is wrong with people? Up-and-coming Pakistani designer Aamna Aqeel is the latest to opt for controversy as her road to media coverage. In an editorial spread titled “Be My Slave” (literally, we are rage-shaking as we type this), DIVA Magazine showcases Aqeel’s luxuriant garb on a model being served by a dark-skinned child. He holds an umbrella over her. He sleeps on the floor in rags as she idly flips through an issue of Bazaar. He bows his head as she presumably orders him around. How could the designer possibly justify this stinking pile of racist excrement? According to The Express Tribune:

Aqeel’s argument is that she wanted to spark a debate on child labor. She says she is involved with a children’s charity and wanted to highlight how ‘society madams’ employ child labor in their homes.

We don’t see this shoot as ‘shedding light’ so much as glorifying child labor, and the child’s subservient posing doesn’t reflect a person who is employed. Aqeel told the paper, an offshoot of the International Herald Tribune, that her selection of a Baloch child (Balochistan is a province of Pakistan fighting for independence) was purely incidental, saying the boy “works in a garage and wanted some work.” Well we hope she paid him.

The recent history of insanely racist fashion photography is depressingly long. There was the ‘African Queen’ editorial in Numéro that featured a model in black face, those very Jim Crow Dolce & Gabbana earrings , Victoria’s Secret’s ‘Sexy Little Geisha’, and the completely beyond offensive Spanish Photoshop job featuring Michelle Obama as a topless slave. In case you hadn’t felt totally hopeless about the world, these all happened in the last nine months.

The latest make-you-sick photos, which are still available on Aqeel’s Facebook (for your outraged commenting), can be seen in the gallery below.


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