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Fashion Takes A Wrong Turn


raj wrong turnThe unpublished series of shots depicted a stylized female model dressed in designer outfits being groped and manhandled by a group of men on a bus. (One of Shetye’s images right) The shoot was an obvious, glammed-up depiction of the horrific New Delhi gang rape that made global headlines in 2012 and it’s certainly not the first time that taste levels have dropped in the name of fashion.

When it comes to fashion imagery it’s pretty much a case of ‘anything goes’ and we are assured it’s just harmless fantasy. Past editorials have included scenes of domestic abuse, drug taking, suicide and lashings of sex and nudity – all in the name of fashion. Since when did selling clothes become this tasteless arena that trivializes some of our major social concerns?

Meanwhile, Raj Shetye and his latest shoot have come under fire on a global scale. Tweeters have accused him of being “sick”, “cheap” and “insensitive” while others have suggested that he be arrested. Shetye has since removed the photos from the online portal Behance, a site where artists can showcase their portfolios, and from his own website.

Shetye said in a press statement that he has been misunderstood and that his intention was in fact to highlight the mistreatment of women in India and to spark debate.

“I have been planning a series of photo shoots around gender insensitivity and this particular photo shoot around sexual violence against women was the first one of those. Dowry, domestic violence, marital rape are some of the other I have been brainstorming over.”

“I still strongly stand by my work. People are allowed to have their opinion and express it on social media, but one has to understand that so do I. The only difference is my medium of expression is not the social media but it’s my camera.”

While no one can deny that these issues are in great need of social debate – you have to question whether dressing it up in a stylized fashion shoot offers the right platform? Surely it sends all the wrong messages while trivializing the gravity of the subject to boot.






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