Nabila Salon's latest editorial is a prime example of cultural misappropriation
Nabila Salon's latest editorial is a prime example of cultural misappropriation

A few pictures started doing the rounds on social media recently from a shoot by Nabila's Salon.

The photographs taken by Umair Nasir Bilal for an editorial of Hello Mag are of LSA nominated model, Zara Abid; the shots are striking, vibrant, and VERY aesthetically pleasing. Then what's the problem?

Zara Abid is a powerhouse of talent. She's attractive, yes. She's got a gorgeous tan, yes.

How about we try not to throw political correctness and basic human decency out the window just for an editorial?
How about we try not to throw political correctness and basic human decency out the window just for an editorial?

But she's not a black woman and that's the problem.

Nabila's photo shoot is a prime example of cultural appropriation also termed as cultural misappropriation.

Cultural appropriation refers to the borrowing of elements of one culture by members of another, it can prove to be particularly offensive if members of a dominant group appropriate from disenfranchised groups.

In a society that is obsessed with fair skin, slip-ups like this only fuel a regressive mindset. It's borderline insulting to pick up a fair-skinned model and paint her to look dark rather than give naturally dark-skinned models a chance.

Also read: How NOT to be offensive as you shoot your next fashion campaign

What could've been a shoot challenging stereotypes is instead now a sad reminder of how we as people of colour still don't get how racism works, and of how dark-skinned talent is still consistently underutilised and sidelined even in projects that claim to celebrate their skin tone.

Tell us you see why painting the skin like this is absurd
Tell us you see why painting the skin like this is absurd

And this is not the first time Pakistani artists have engaged in cultural appropriation: photographer Alee Hassan, designer Ali Xeeshan and Sanam Jung are a few names that come to mind.

There's a line between appropriation and inspiration so how about we try not to throw political correctness and basic human decency out the window just for an editorial?

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