Photo: Ads Of The World
Female models in glitzy advertising campaigns are being shunned by fashion houses in Pakistan as they launch this year’s collections, to avoid the anger of Islamic hardliners.Last year dozens of billboards were blacked out by campaigners protesting against pictures of a bare-shouldered Bollywood actress in giant adverts.
This time of year brings the launch of lawn collections – brightly coloured flimsy linens worn in the summer – usually with glitzy advertising campaigns featuring glamorous models designed to appeal to a wealthy elite.
This time around a handful of labels are trying a different tactic.
Nadir Khan, customer relations manager of J Lawn, said its adverts displaying lawn prints as billowing sails on boats had received widespread praise.
“In Islam, women have a lot of respect,” he said. “We feel that women are not to be flaunted across the city on billboards.”
He added that he did not wish to impose particular values on other fashion houses but that it was the right approach for J Lawn.
“Maybe next year we will have something else,” said Mr Khan. “What won’t change is that it won’t be our sisters or mothers on billboards.”
Several other companies have followed suit. Although some continue to use women in their brochures, at least two have dropped models from advertising hoardings where they can be more widely seen.
Women are expected to cover up in conservative, mostly Muslim, Pakistan . Many wear loose shapeless clothes to hide their curves and a scarf over their head.
A 2011 survey, conducted by Gallup, found that almost two thirds of Pakistanis objected to billboards featuring women.
Last year hoardings displaying a soap advertising featuring Meera, a Pakistani actress, and a hoarding with Katrina Kaif, a Bollywood star, were covered up, replaced with text saying: “Sell clothes, not your honour.”
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