I like many others, was shocked when I discovered the truth behind the upcoming Mac Rodarte collection due for release in September 2010.
Rodarte claims the inspiration for the this collection came from a road trip they went on from El Paso to Marfa, where they found the ethereal shades of the countryside beautiful. However, the haunting promo image and the names of the products for the collection tell a different story.
The products have names such as Juarez, Sleepless, Factory, Sleepwalker, Ghost Town & Badlands to name a few. These names tell us a different story of inspiration, one that is much darker and less innocent.
Juarez is an impoverished city which lies on the Rio Grande across from El Paso, Texas. The city is dubbed one of the most dangerous places in the world, with kidnap and murder being a common occurrence. The city also has an infamous series of unsolved murders involving female factory workers. Most of the victims are slender, dark-haired girls between 14 and 18 years old who work in one of the numerous U.S.-owned “maquiladora” factories. Many are killed on their way to and from work. Their bodies have been found dumped in the desert or next to the roads, that is if they are found at all of course, as some never are.
These Femicides began in 1993 and have continued ever since . 400 women have been murdered in that time period (although the locals believe the figure is more like 5000!). In Some cases, the victims are mutilated and horribly disfigured. Objects have been stuffed into their vaginas or anuses, and/or their left breasts have been hacked off. Many are strangled, then stabbed repeatedly. Others were found with their hands tied behind their backs. Some have their knickers removed, even if they are still fully dressed.
These poor women working in these factories also do so for a pittance. Working a 48 hour week for around $4.00 and often live in shacks on the outskirts of the city. These shacks are squalid and don’t have running water or electricity. The factories are in operation 24 hours a day. This means the female workers often have to begin work extremely early (hence the name sleepwalkers/sleepless), or return home late at night. Some cannot afford to get the bus, forcing them to walk home along isolated dirt tracks. Some never return home at all.
These murders remain unsolved and the local Police do very little about them. This leaves the women of Juarez currently vulnerable and living in fear of their lives.
And do Mac want to promote/beautify this? How can you beautify femicide, poverty, death and fear? Do they think that we as consumers want to apply a lipstick called Ghost Town, or Sleepless, or a Nail polish called Factory, knowing where the inspiration/names came from? It makes my skin crawl and my stomach turn to be honest. I find the whole collection vile and repulsive. Not only that, but looking at the promo image – who the hell will find this beautiful? Do they think women want to walk down the street looking like a corpse in a sepia painting?