FASHION JUNQUI: Is this Donna Karan ad offensive?
” I have spent decades dressing people. Now I want to address them.” – Donna Karan
Donna Karan may be an icon and household name in the fashion industry, but she is also known for her commitment to various charitable causes. Urban Zen, a foundation she established with designer Sonja Nuttall, stemmed from her personal dedication to promote integrative medicine to those battling serious illnesses, after she lost her late husband to lung cancer in 2001. One of its initiatives, Hope, Help and Rebuild Haiti (HHRH) began after the earthquake in 2010. She combined her two passions – fashion and her love for Haitian culture – in ads for her Spring 2012 collection.
…but there is one image from this set that is raising eyebrows…
There seem to be many people who deem this particular shot as tasteless and controversial. Some wonder if the men in the background were only there as unpaid props. Kivain71 commented on The Huffington Post:
“…I am more bothered by the look of fear on the childrens’ faces than anything else. If you put white children in the same pose, same look, I’d still be offended by it. Poor children shoved in a corner looking scared of a fierce, wealthy woman. The racial aspect of it just makes a bad photo even worse.”
On the same site, Slavinphoto and MikeiJames had a different take on it:
” …I can attest after spending days touring the country, visiting schools and hospitals that have been erected for the people of Haiti with funds donated or raised by Ms. Karan that her commitment to helping Haitians in the wake of the devastating earthquake is 100% true and genuine…”
“…the idea that donna karan finds herself racist when she used her entire collection to shine a light on the opportunities that exist in haiti to assist in their redevelopment remains quite laughable.”
What do YOU think? Does the image have racial undertones, or are people getting worked up over absolutely nothing?