Casting asylum-seekers in a fashion show to raise awareness as to how they could be a resource for host countries is a positive step. An Italian fashion show did just that in January and won a lot of praise for organizing the event.
But cashing in on the world’s biggest humanitarian emergency by introducing a clothing line featuring clothes based on offensive stereotypes is, without a doubt, morally reprehensible — even if a small portion of the reaped profits is donated to those sufferering from the crisis.
Remember when I said I had lots of rage to go around? It just got all used up. pic.twitter.com/ZwWLLljoex— Sami Shah (@samishah) March 21, 2016
“The Refuge Collection” is apparently a venture of an Ontario, Canada-based clothing company called Marvaan.
Ironically, the brand calls itself an ethically conscious, “socially focused” lifestyle brand on its official website. But, as everyone can see in the now-deleted Facebook post, the creators of the “vest and pants” surely lost their focus with this distasteful collection.
See More: A Year In The Life Of Syrian Refugees
This isn’t the first case of fashion-meets-politics gone wrong.
Last October, a Hungarian photographer Norbert Baksa published a photo editorial called “Der Migrant” featuring a model in racy clothes, posing as a refugee by a barbed fence.
Baksa defended the photoshoot claiming it was his way of drawing attention to the crisis — and his argument would have made sense in a parallel universe where actual refugees did not look like this:
More than a million migrants crossed into Europe through irregular means in 2015. Nearly 35,000 people arrived in the first two months of this year and, according to International Monetary Fund’s forecast, around 4 million more could reach the continent by the end of 2017.
It is, as has been stated before, the worst international crisis the world has witnessed since WWII. Making light of it by picturing a model in “migrant poses” or even reaping a small percentage of profits by introducing a “refugee clothes collection” is disgusting, to say the least.