lifestyle

Er, fashion designers? This is not an accessory. This is a sign of abuse.

Update: It’s the most disturbing “trend” of the season, and it seems to be catching on: models in Vivienne Westwood’s latest fashion show appeared on the runway sporting bruises.

In the Milan show for the AW15 menswear collection, which she says is a tribute to Prince Charles, Westwood has models sporting purple gashes across their cheekbones and chins, and bruised, sunken eyes.

bruised make up 2
Close Up: Bruise-like make up at Westwood’s show (Image: Getty)

Whilst Vivienne herself is known for being quite, er, quirky, we aren’t entirely sure why a designer would want their models to look like they have just been involved in a street brawl.

Previously, Mamamia wrote…

Trigger warning: This post deals with violence and may be triggering to some survivors.

There’s a fashion week happening in London at the moment.

As happens at all fashion weeks, the designers at London’s biannual men’s fashion week shared a few eyebrow-raising looks on the runway this year.

But there’s one particular look that’s been attracted criticism from experts over the last few days, and you can understand why: When Shangguan Zhe’s label Sankuanz presented its Men’s RTW Fall 2015 show at the show on Tuesday, the models sported bruises and gashes as, apparently, some sort of fashion accessory.

Shangguan Zhe’s label Sankuanz and the bruised models. Credit: Getty images 3373

Makeup artist Maria Comparetto told Mail Online she’d created the black eyes and gashes on her models as a “playful edge on fight club”.

She used colours that resembled real bruising, and instead of looking “cartoonish” and “playful”, the end result looked (quite confrontingly) real.

#beautifulbruises on his lip? Credit: Getty images

Then, Comparetto posted a photo of the beauty look on Instagram early this week with the hashtag #beautifulbruises, and also described her aim for the models to“look beautiful but hard”.

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Unsurprisingly, the look has sparked wide controversy, with some suggesting it glorifies violence.

Aram Hosie from ReachOut Australia told the MailOnline the images from the Sankuanz show could be a trigger to domestic violence survivors.

It also seems that when fashion magazines depict victims of domestic violence wearing high-end fashion — such as in this shoot by Italian Vogue, where violence is depicted as romantic and ephemeral — there’s a clear glamourisation of violence going on.

Which is screwed up because, well, a woman is killed every week in Australia by an spouse or previous intimate partner, and just under half a million women reported experiencing domestic violence in the last 12 months. So domestic violence is a real problem, people. We KNOW this.

A bruised mouth. Credit: Getty Images

The glamourisation of domestic violence is not the only reason these images are disturbing some critics: these images could also be accused of romanticising male street violence.

Ms Hosie said she was “appalled that commercial organisations, or designers in this case, would look to use violence to promote their brand and product.”

“The last thing we want is for young people who may have been the victim of any kind of violence to think that what they have experienced is being trivialised or not treated seriously.” Ms Hosie said.

At a time when 90 men have been killed in one punch attacks since 2000 in Australia and hundreds of men have been left fighting for their lives after such attacks, and with one recent survey finding 73% of men reported experiencing violence from other men in the last 12 months — it seems a very strange judgement call to send models of either any gender onto the catwalk wearing bruises that are intended to be trendy or, in fact, “#beautiful”.

Harrowing images. Credit- Getty images

So, we’re all for “playful” fashion — but is bruising taking it too far? Should we be exploiting the harsh imagery of abuse to sell clothes and gain attention?

I say, loudly and clearly: no. No it cannot.

While it’s a given that fashion will often aim to shock, the fashion industry — which is followed religiously by so many young people — does have a broader social responsibility, as does all media.

And that responsibility, surely, starts with avoiding the gimmicky use of assault as a fashion accessory, or of ridiculous hashtags like #beautifulbruises.

Because guess what? #BruisesAreNotBeautiul.

If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence, seek help through ReachOut, the National Domestic Violence hotline and you can donate to White Ribbon.