Yes they’re starving child soldier AIDS orphans, but they’ve got Gucci

Via Sasha Dichter’s blog:

The New York Times ran a story on Sunday about an appalling decision by Vogue India to run a series of photos of poor people wearing high fashion items:

An old woman missing her upper front teeth holds a child in rumpled clothes — who is wearing a Fendi bib (retail price, about $100).

A family of three squeezes onto a motorbike for their daily commute, the mother riding without a helmet and sidesaddle in the traditional Indian way — except that she has a Hermès Birkin bag (usually more than $10,000, if you can find one) prominently displayed on her wrist.

Elsewhere, a toothless barefoot man holds a Burberry umbrella (about $200).

As if the photo shoot weren’t a bad enough idea, Vogue India editor Priya Tanna’s responded to criticism by saying, ‘“Lighten up.” Vogue is about realizing the “power of fashion” she said, and the shoot was saying that “fashion is no longer a rich man’s privilege. Anyone can carry it off and make it look beautiful.”’

7 thoughts on “Yes they’re starving child soldier AIDS orphans, but they’ve got Gucci

  1. so stupid.
    “no longer a rich man’s privilege”, what ever. If a bag will set you back USD10 000, how many poor people will you see walking around with it.

    puhlease, if these designer items were not exclusive then there would be no point in paying 10 000 for a bag because the signal of status disappear.

    Designer clothes are just Elizabethan sumptuary laws re-invented!

  2. I appreciate your posting about the article, but the title of your post “starving child soldier AIDS orphans” is extremely condescending and inaccurate.


  3. It’s too bad fashion magazines aren’t subject to the same need for IRB approval as researchers!

    It’s also troubling that some of the defenders of this article, including one blogger you link to on occasion (Bianaoh) think they can defend this article based on principles of economics. That the article was written at all is disturbing. That the field of development economics produces people who defend it is disappointing.

  4. Yes, that’s messed up. If you are looking for a good charity to help child soldiers, check out

    Shameless Plug – Check out my artwork of child soldiers at