New Delhi, October 5: Raw Mango, a contemporary Indian fashion brand's latest collection 'Zooni' inspired by Kashmir, faced backlash for exoticising the region at a time when the region is under heavy security post the abrogation of Article 370. The brand launched on Wednesday evening on Instagram was criticised following the posting of a snap of a Kashmiri bride dressed in a red and gold garment, sitting on a boat at a scenic location in Kashmir.
Following the backlash, the fashion brand removed the images from social media. "The campaign imagery for Zooni was released on the evening of Oct 2, 2019, on Instagram, and recalled that evening based on requesting the public sentiment on timing," read the statement posted by Raw Mango on Instagram.
Read Full Statement Released by Raw Mango Post Backlash
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Updated press note as of Oct 4th: At Raw Mango our process of design requires a two year lead time, from research to stores. In November 2017, our design team began research and textile development for ‘Zooni’, a collection drawing from Kashmir. Each textile and silhouette is created through an exploration of this country - though traditions, rituals and craftsmanship across different regions. For instance our 2018 collection ‘Heer’, alluded to the culture of pre-partition Punjab. In May 2019, we began to explore campaign directions for Zooni, and a recce was done on May 2019 in Srinagar. The shoot was executed over 5 days from June 27 - July 2, 2019. A release was planned for August 8th, 2019 and given the political and social climate surrounding the region, the launch was postponed. The decision to withhold the images has since been under considerable discussion and concern. The decision to release the images shot by Avani Rai was the decision of the brand. It was not a decision of Avani’s, who requested to delay the release further. The campaign imagery for Zooni was released on the evening of Oct 2, 2019 on Instagram, and recalled that evening based on requesting the public sentiment on timing, as well as a request from Avani Rai.
The statement also explained that the planning for 'Zooni' began long before the abrogation of Article 370. "In November 2017, our design team began to research and textile development for 'Zooni', a collection drawing from Kashmir," read the statement. But the "release was planned for August 8th, 2019 and given the political and social climate surrounding the region, the launch was postponed."