18 Mar 2012

Another Lawn Post: The Sana Safinaz S/S'12 Campaign

Recently there has been a lot of controversy around the Sana Safinaz S/S'12 campaign, in which a fashion campaign has turned into a political statement offending many Pakistani's and has been termed 'insensitive' due to the poor coolies in the background carrying the designer bags in contrast with the perfectly manicured model wearing lawn. I personally find that from a marketing point of view this was an extremely clever campaign, it has generated a lot of word of mouth, and created a lot of 'talk' around the brand, maybe not in a positive manner, but it is still getting them a lot of publicity.
There were tweets on this campaign, it generated many threads in online forums, as well as making the news.




I remember in my final year of my undergrad, I was designing a campaign, and I wanted the campaign to break the borders of fashion, I wanted it to be something completely unique, and in one of my initial presentations I had shown a couple of pictures of the Vogue India editorial in which the poor are carrying designer items. I had mentioned in that presentation that this was one of my all time favourite fashion editorials, because it really defined the gap between the rich and poor at the same time subtly eliminated it... it created a visual oxymoron. One of the children in the campaign had a Fendi bib on, and that bib could fund his household expenditure for a month, or maybe even more. In the Western world, I didn't expect them to understand my point of view and as expected they were completely horrified that I actually loved the editorial and showed it as an example, it was beyond their comprehension, but I thought it was something that we saw on a day to day basis in Pakistan whilst we are in our cars with our tinted windows holding our designer bags and wearing our designer sunglasses, there is a world of poverty stricken people begging for 25 cents just a couple of feet away. I thought collaborating the two concepts was so clever, and would definitely make one look twice. As I have mentioned earlier, these days most fashion campaigns seem to be one of a kind, especially in terms of lawn in Pakistan. Whilst the Sana Safinaz campaign definitely stands out and has generated a buzz on social media - ultimately publicity is publicity whether positive or negative and this in my opinion would not lower the sales of their clothing hence it is not really harming the brand, as it is no one seems to be boycotting the brand and are counting down to purchase the lawn. I am disappointed however, that the idea was not original by any means, and was a Pakistani version of the Vogue India editorial.
The Vogue India editorial is still discreet with a softer juxtaposition, it's about finding the designers within the image and creating beautiful images with a sense of high fashion using the most basic monogrammed designer items - e.g. a Fendi bib, a Burberry umbrella (where as these items would not even be considered high fashion if not viewed in this setting). In contrast, the S&S campaign is so in your face with the croc birkin and LV luggage - a little OTT in my opinion but certainly not something to take so seriously, just a campaign at the end of the day.



What are your views on the S&S S/S'12 campaign? Clever or inconsiderate?
- A

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