Donna Karan’s recent spring 2012 ad campaign featuring Adrianna Lima along with two Haitian locals has come under fire. Some people are even questioning if it should be deemed racist and misguided.
Here are some comments from Huffington Post:
“The only thing that bothers me about it is supermodel wearing uber expensive clothing in the middle of a country that has been devastated by unimaginable poverty.” -thejadedentrepreneur
“If they’re spending a lot of money hiring locals during the shoot — supporting local hotels, restaurants, drivers, models, crew, etc. — then I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. However, using the downtrodden as props for high-fashion shoots — especially if these “prop people” are not paid a good wage — smacks of completely insensitive imperialistic attitudes.” –StrawHat
To Karan’s defense she has said repeatedly that Haiti has been an inspiration to her and aiding its restoration has become her passion so with that said she didn’t intend for the ad to be racist. She founded a charity to bring support and awareness to Haiti called Hope Help & Rebuild Haiti.
A spokesperson from Donna Karan issued a statement explaining the designer’s intent:
It is well known that Donna has been deeply involved in supporting and bringing awareness to Haiti since the earthquake. Through her personal experiences there, Haiti was a natural inspiration for the Spring 2012 collection. The intent of the ad campaign is to celebrate the culture and creativity of the people of Haiti
However, this ad was poorly executed because it doesn’t really showcase the celebration of culture and creativity of the Haiti. Haiti has been known for its strength, resilience, and vibrancy which this ad clearly doesn’t show which is unfortunate. It’s also unfortunate that the tagline, “Discover the beauty and inspiration” says more than creative. [Fashionista]