You thought slavery was dead? Try again. A new campaign by a fashion designer has people shrieking with disdain, since the designer seems determined to prove that slavery can be brought back into style. Pakistani designer Aamna Aqeel is being criticized for a new campaign called “Be My Slave,” with a shoot showing a white woman being waited on by a dark-skinned child.
The shoot is expected to appear in DIVA, a Pakistani fashion and lifestyle magazine. The images were placed on the designer’s Facebook page, leading fans to express their anger.
The images are described as being beyond tasteless, and it’s difficult to know what the designer was thinking. Experts speculate that it may have been thought that the edginess and controversy of the shoot would reap more rewards than losses. But while international attention has been placed on the publication, most fans do not find the shoot to be appealing. It also has branded both the designer and the fashion magazine to be racist. They’ve both been asked to apologize.
The designer says that the appearance of the child happened just by chance. She said that the boy “works in a garage and wanted some work.” But maybe she could have let him do a job behind the scenes instead of humiliating himself in front of the camera. At the same time, there may be a deeper explanation for why she chose to shoot this scene in this way.
In her defense, Aqeel says she is involved with a children’s charity and used the images to bring awareness to the use of child labor around the world. She also says that she wasn’t trying to build her brand with controversy and only meant to raise public awareness on this issue. Do you buy it?
Fans on her Facebook page don’t seem the least bit satisfied with what she said. But if she is telling the truth, maybe it does mean that child labor problems should be confronted more directly. Many of the most popular products sold in America are made by five year olds who can’t go to school. Awareness might be necessary.