Erika B. and Anwen F. sent us a new Indian fashion shoot for the newest Anthropologie catalogue. The fashion shoot is an excellent example of how people of color in “exotic,” often poverty-stricken countries are used as a glamorous backdrop for light-skinned models wearing expensive clothes. Or, as Anwen put it: “I found it especially insensitive to shoot advertisements for $78 t-shirts in a country that is home to a third of the world’s poor.”
Not only is the economic contrast striking, the fashion shoot uses (supposedly authentic local) Indians as backdrop for light-skinned models. Indian people are no different in these images than architecture or nature. They are simply a way to claim that Anthropologie’s clothes will make clean, rich, white women feel like they are enjoying just a taste of an exotic place.
A selection of the 61 photos organized into architecture, nature, and people.
For more examples of this phenomenon, see our posts on porn in Kenya, Africans as Props in Britain’s Next Top Model, Vogue in India, Undifferentiated Asians as Props, and Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku girls.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.