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December 19, 2011  | by: Ama Kwarteng

Donna Karan's Controversial Ad

Another fashion designer’s advertisements have been met with controversy.

This time the designer at the center of the situation is Donna Karan. Karan recently had her spring ad campaign shot in Haiti, specifaclly in the southern part of the country. The shoot was photographed by Russell James, was inspired by the Hatian artist, Philippe Dodard, and featured Adriana Lima, posing among Hatian locals.

The locals in the ad campaign seem to blend into the background and have been described as “lurking in the shadows.” Commentaters on many websites are adamantly against the shoot. One commenter on the Huffington Post site said “using the downtrodden as props for high-fashion shoots smacks of completely insensitive imperialistic attitudes.” Another commenter on Fashion Gone Rogue describes the people in the background as “minorities in the background.”

Karan’s spring collection is influenced by the charity work she did in Haiti following the earthquake last year. She wanted to use the collection to bring awareness to the people in Haiti.

“Bringing awareness to Haiti has become a personal passion…For spring, it was also my creative inspiration, bringing my two worlds together. This campaign, shot in Jacmel, infuses the vibrant spirit of Haiti into a sexy New York sophistication.”

Karan obviously meant no harm by the photos, but, as others have said, contrasting the poverty of the Haitians with a top, high brand, is unnecessary and inappropriate.

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