Why do we still think it’s okay to advertise fashion like this?

Fashion, opinion

Fashion is well known for its tendency to be controversial. Being controversial is great, its interesting and people love to be shocked, within reason. People love to think of art as having no boundaries and being completely free, but (sometimes) are these just excuses used to express things that in any other circumstance we just wouldn’t think was okay?

Sisley likes to "push the envelope" with their ads.

Sisley fashion campaign. ‘No time to run’….. sexy or creepy?


I read a post on Buzzfeed this week listing a huge number of fashion campaigns that were heavily themed around violence towards women, including rape themes. Violence occurs in so much of the media, films and games for example. This is a different kind of violence though, these people are advertising clothes… to women mostly. I fail to see how this is just artistic expression especially when this idea has been done to the death and I’m afraid isn’t shocking or original. The only thing that’s shocking is that these fashion companies think this is a perfectly okay concept to go with in the 21st century. Why would you use something as serious and sick as rape to advertise something that is meant to be desirable and luxurious? This is where I have a real problem with the fashion industry.

-“The high-fashion world in general loves to think of itself as contrarian, élite, and boldly at odds with the tastes and mores of the wider public. It likes to think that it, in fact, leads those tastes. But much of the imagery the fashion industry uses to communicate its messages at best echoes and at worst reinforces some of the wider culture’s most negative ideas about women and girls. As we all know thanks to Joan Didion, “it is possible for people to be the unconscious instruments of values they would strenuously reject on a conscious level.” Fashion, in all its contradictions, is great evidence of that.”- Jenna Sauers


Why is fashion reinforcing such negative ideas of women, when it is advertising to women? I understand there is a certain sexiness about violence and everyone has their thing they like, but this is commercial advertising. And really, what women finds rape sexy? Seems like it’s just another way the media can obsess over its weird fantasies about women. All these campaigns do is promote violence against women, making it less of an issue in many peoples eyes.

What exactly are these ad campaigns meant to be saying – ‘Look at this image, this women has been beaten up/raped but at least she looks good in our new A/W collection’?


This hair salon advertisement claims to be ‘a work of art’ and the people who made it said that it brings the domestic violence issue to light. A fashion campaign promoting its clothing/hair salon to make lots and lots of money for itself doesn’t seem like the best way to help victims of domestic abuse. It seems like a cheap shock tactic aiming to make as much money as possible.

I love fashion, and have done for most of my life but there are so many issues regarding the industry. This stuff isn’t healthy for anyone.

Thanks for reading.