Exploitative or Enlightening? Nolita's No-Anorexia Campaign

Sensationalism is not a foreign concept in fashion advertising. For every classic Ralph Lauren ad starring an elegant Valentina, there's a racy Terry
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Sensationalism is not a foreign concept in fashion advertising. For every classic Ralph Lauren ad starring an elegant Valentina, there's a racy Terry
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Sensationalism is not a foreign concept in fashion advertising. For every classic Ralph Lauren ad starring an elegant Valentina, there's a racy Terry Richardson campaign for Tom Ford fragrances featuring a bottle of cologne wedged between a model's sweat-slick breasts. In the style world, ads don't only sell a product -- they promote an aesthetic, a lifestyle. However, the line between provocative and edgy and offensive and brand-damaging is thin. The recent controversy over Italian fashion label Nolita's "No Anorexia" campaign is particularly interesting as it addresses a medical issue much discussed in style circles: eating disorders. But is Nolita's campaign exploitative or enlightening? Unlike Benetton, some of whose controversial '90s campaigns were also shot by Oliviero Toscani, Nolita has not announced involvement with any charities or foundations concerned with the issue they seek to address. And looking at Nolita's other campaigns, it's clear that while their models aren't Snejana-tiny, they are certainly very thin. When should a clothing company take a stance on a social issue, and when do they have the credibility to do so? --NATALIE GUEVARA

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