Bullet pellet effects on fashion show: Insensible or Inspired?
Fashion designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil are on the receiving end of controversy with their newly launched collection called ‘Kashmiriyat.’ They showcased the collection for the first time during the Van Heusen and GQ Fashion Nights in Mumbai. Bullet pellet effects were used to depict fear and life of people in Kashmir areas.
Bullet pellet effect on stage and on models that showcased the collection was perceived as offensive by people who believe that a very serious issue is being used in the most insensible way possible. J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was the first to react with series of tweets against the designer’s inappropriate representation and mindless depicting of Kashmiri lives.Insensible1. A serious matter:
Pellet guns used in Kashmir aren’t for fun or to be used for the purpose of entertainment. They were used under serious circumstances. People who were on the receiving end were seriously injured, some losing eyesight forever and some succumbing to panic. How can something that handicapped so many people be used as special effect for a popular brand that people look up to?2. Kashmir isn’t about pellet guns:
Snow capped valleys and immaculate plains of the region haunted in the hatred of mankind cannot be judged on the basis of pellets shed there. There is so much more to Kashmir than the hatred brewing there in the name of separation, partition and religion. The heaven on earth is plundered on and again ever since the rest of the nation breathed the air of freedom. That is still not the identity of Kashmir. It is absolutely ignorant to associate Kashmir with pellet bullets.3. Poetic aggression and hope?
In its tweets about the collection, the designers used phrases like ‘even in times of despair we dream and hope for a better tomorrow’ and ‘reflecting poetic aggression and hope.’ All this coming at a time when cross-border firing is at rise is ignorant and insensitive. What kind of aggression in Kashmir regions is expected to be poetic at this time?4. Denying:
The designers are simply denying the pellet effect instead of apologizing for the huge blunder of being mindless. The tweet that talked about the pellet effect was soon deleted but CM Abdullah retained and posted a screenshot of the same. Instead of denying the allegation which is in fact proven with evidence, they could have shown empathy by apologizing for the insensitivity towards such a serious matter that plagues Kashmir.5. Blinding eye-makeup:
Another picture depicts a model with eyes blackened with dark make-up followed by lines for Kashmiriyat collection. Seeking opportunity and theme out of an incident that blinded scores in Kashmir is inexplicable and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Adding lines of ray of hope and ambition to a thoughtless theme, effect and make-up doesn’t make it less offensive.6. Not the first time:
The fashion world has proven its insensitivity time and again when it comes to sensitive issues of poverty and illiteracy of Rajasthan, tribal people and villagers. Fashion shouldn’t be allowed to be so outrageous that it leaves behind all ethics of humanity and empathy towards the less privileged.Inspired1. Hope:
Shantanu and Nikhil have clarified that the effect was not of pellets to begin with. The monochromatic hues were simply used to symbolize the contrast between the traumatic past that Kashmir has had and the hope for a bright future. The music in the background was also played by a Kashmiri band.2. Make-up:
A lot of trouble brews because of evil said and done. The models were shown with the make-up of sealed mouth that implied ‘speak no evil.’ Small black dots were used on the faces of the model to replicate the effects of weathered skin. They simply intended to showcase the effect of trauma and crying out loud for change and better future.3. Pellet bullets are a cruel reality for speaking out loud:
Speaking softly on a cruel matter doesn’t make it less cruel. People were blinded. Pellets shook humanity. Kashmir was affected like never before. Associating Kashmir with pellet is not wrong to begin with. It was only a depiction of the current state of affairs. Ignoring reality isn’t going to change the way it has been.
It is agreeable that using pellet bullet effects on a fashion collection launch is offensive and downright outrageous of human values. The designers could either have stood their grounds or apologized but the way they took the denial course proves that they were thoughtless right from the beginning and had no vision in mind when they decided to use the pellet effect with Kashmiriyat.