Philippine Fashion Week has been criticised by netizens for “capitalising” on the BLM movement by featuring a black model with the movement’s hashtag as well as the George Floyd quote ‘I Can’t Breathe’.
The 24-year-old bi-annual fashion show started earlier this week at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria in the Philippine capital Manila with the new collection apparently drawing inspiration from the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
BLM protests broke out in the US and further afield following the killing of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers.
Protests sparked debates on racial injustice in Asian countries as well as the US and Europe.
Philippine Fashion Week produced several images of a black model in clothing with the BLM hashtag and “I Can’t Breathe”, famously uttered by Floyd moments before his death.
The show’s organisers said on Instagram: “Philippine Fashion Week supports #BlackLivesMatter, a movement in protest of police brutality, racial violence, racial injustice, and economic inequality against African-American people.”
However, many Philippine netizens were outraged by the campaign and accused organisers of profiting from the controversial movement.
Comments on the social media posts were subsequently turned off.
However, netizen ‘Marineldizon’ said on Twitter: “This is disgusting. If the organisers of Philippine Fashion Week truly wanted to make a statement, they’d focus on the problems we are facing locally, such as the war on drugs and extrajudicial killings. The Black Lives Movement is not something to be monetised.”
‘Sining_ni_Gelo’ commented: “Are they going to give a portion of the money to the affected community?… Did they speak up for the oppressed before this? No, they really said f*ck them I’m gonna capitalise on the movement.”
Philippine Fashion Week has yet to issue a statement on the issue.
However, executive producer Tina Herrera said in a series of posts on the fashion show’s Facebook page that she “grew up exposed to the strong influence of the black community” and has always “hired black creatives.”
She added: “I grew up in Long Beach California and went to Long Beach Polytechnic High School (same high school as Snoop Dogg and Cameron Diaz).
“We grew up exposed to the strong influence of the Black Community therefore we were naturally drawn to their work and have been a supporter of black artists for many decades.”
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