Before the Trump administration officially began back in January 2017, the mere idea that migrant children would be separated from their parents at the US border, and kept in closed-off areas that resemble cages would have been farfetched.
Those who oppose Trump’s policies – generally, the more liberal people in society – are absolutely outraged at what they regard to be an outright attack on immigrants.
Here’s what Trump, himself, had to say about his contentious policy:
Needless to say, it’s a sensitive issue, and the most sympathetic of people treat it as such. However, it appears that some people might need to brush up a little on their sensitivity.
And we don’t mean to name names but recently, a certain designer has sparked controversy through his clumsy phrasing in an Instagram caption; namely his use of the term “illegal alien”.
Gigi Hadid, alongside other lesser-known models, featured in this photo shoot and it’s now facing a great deal of backlash for its controversial illegal alien theme.
The designer responsible for the shoot, Jeremy Scott, posted a photo of Gigi covered in blue body paint and a one-piece orange coat from Moschino’s Autumn/Winter 18 collection, a look that could have come straight off the set of a sci-fi movie.
Learn more about the designer and his passion for all things fashion:
“THE ONLY THING ILLEGAL ABOUT THIS ALIEN IS HOW GOOD SHE LOOKS,” Scott originally wrote in the caption.
Fans of the designer will recognize, from this over-the-top caption, a tendency to mimic gossip-type headlines.
However, those criticizing the images argued that they only served to trivialize the difficult circumstances under which detained migrants had to live.
Others had a bone to pick with the term, “illegal alien”. They thought that by using such a derogatory term in order to sell lavish designer items worn by wealthy supermodels, Scott was neglecting to account for the hardships of migrant poverty.
“What a tone-deaf caption. Geezus,” one Instagram user complained, while another added, “That caption is disgusting. You’re profiting from the suffering of people escaping persecution, poverty, and death.”
The outrage surrounding the shoot was also fuelled, in part, by the fact the models who were hired for it appeared to all be white, despite the fact that migrants crossing the border are usually people of color.
While Kaia Gerber and Vittoria Ceretti – two of three models initially hired for the shoot – are both white, others who were more sympathetic to the designer’s campaign highlighted the fact that Gigi has both Dutch and Palestinian heritage.
They also pointed out that Scott later included an image of Soo Joo who is an American model of South Korean descent.
Following the backlash, Scott explained that he was only trying to make a political statement. He then changed the caption on Gigi’s photo, although, as pointed out by many people, he had failed to apologize.
“ALIEN NATION,” Scott wrote. “WHAT IS AN ‘ALIEN?’ THE CONCEPT OF MY AD CAMPAIGN IS TO BRING ATTENTION TO THE US ADMINISTRATION’S HARSH STANCE TOWARDS ‘ILLEGAL ALIENS.’”
“I PAINTED THE MODELS IN MY SHOW AND THIS CAMPAIGN AS A WAY TO OPEN A DISCUSSION ON WHAT EXACTLY AN ‘ALIEN’ IS – ARE THEY ORANGE BLUE YELLOW GREEN? DOES THIS MATTER? THEY ARE OUR FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS, CO-WORKERS, RELATIVES, AND PEOPLE WE LOVE.”
Some people admitted to being even more enraged after the caption change. Although the new caption seemed to be more sensitive to the plight of immigrants, Scott made no attempt to acknowledge the offense he had caused in the previous caption.
“YOUR ORIGINAL CAPTION WAS ‘THE ONLY THING ILLEGAL ABOUT THIS ALIEN IS HOW GOOD SHE LOOKS’! We won’t forget that, and changing the caption doesn’t change the fact this whole campaign just brings you profit. You want to start a discussion? Stop painting the same models blue and calling it revolutionary. Actually change the fashion game by hiring models that need to be represented. Get out in the street and do something worthwhile. Until then, you’re just another white man making money off the suffering of real people.”
Scott ultimately ended up replying to @zestylemur who seemed to be his harshest critic. “THE ENTIRE CONCEPT OF MY AD CAMPAIGN WAS TO BRING ATTENTION TO THE US ADMINISTRATION’S HARSH STANCE TOWARDS ‘ILLEGAL ALIENS’.”
Of course, comment sections on the internet are always divisive and not everyone thought the controversy was warranted.
One person commented: “This is art people! An idea becomes a creation. Respect it! Art comes in all kinds of shapes and [forms], [stop] spitting on every talented artist. What’s wrong with u people, she is gorgeous [look] at her.”
The huge amount of backlash that this shoot received perhaps goes to show that if designers – who work in a world marked by wealth and privilege – are going to include activism within their work, they have to make sure they do it exactly right.