There is always plenty of talk about how advertisements in the fashion industry influence their viewers, and it usually revolves around the same things: the ads are too sexual, the models are too skinny, or the ad is just all around too offensive. So I was a little surprised, and albeit slightly amused when I first saw this over Thanksgiving break about young Hailee Steifeld’s Miu Miu ad being banned in the UK by their Advertising Standards Authority, who claimed that the photograph is “irresponsible” because she is a (14 year-old) ‘child’ sitting on some railroad tracks dressed in a very expensive, high-fashion wardrobe.
Some ads elicit an immediate shock or awe for various reasons. As stated in a few previous posts, some are just guilty of terrible Photoshoping or using disturbingly skinny models. Others push the envelope when it comes to promiscuity and sexuality, ala American Apparel or Tom Ford. When I saw the headline for the article and then saw the photo it wasn’t immediately clear to me exactly what the problem was with the ad. I mean, I guess I get it: she’s sitting on the tracks (though unrestrained) and she may or may not be wiping away a single tear. Does she want a train to come and run over her because her life is in shambles? Because for a fourteen year-old who’s pondering suicide, a fashion magazine running this ad would probably be their last source for information on how to do so.
Fashionista.com had a funny response to the ban, showing different campaigns that could also be deemed “unsafe” on the same grounds as Miu Miu:
The funny thing is that while some brands go out of their way to walk the fine line between edgy and offensive for the sake of stirring up some controversy, I think Miu Miu was merely just aiming for a campaign with beautiful photos portraying a mundane story. At the end of the day, however, there’s no such thing as bad press. How many people would have taken the time to observe and scrutinize this fairly plain ad? Because of all the press this has been getting, thousands of people across the globe who would have never even picked up a fashion magazine in the first place suddenly are acquainted with this image, but more importantly with Miu Miu.
Photos & captions from fashionista.com