How do kids react to fashion campaigns?

July 19, 2022

Have you ever wondered what children think when they look at fashion advertisements? Imagine a 8-year-old child looking at the world of fashion created in the advertising campaigns of the most famous brands. The models are photographed in strange positions, most of the time looking bored and many of the situations shown are controversial. Remember the Tom Ford campaigns in the early 90s, styled by Carine Roitfeld, where the model is on the floor being dragged by her hair by a male model?

‘Kids vs Fashion’ project investigates kids’ reactions to fashion

The Spanish visual artist Yolanda Dominguez investigates kids’ reactions and opinions about fashion advertising. And the result of her study, “Niños vs Moda”, or “Kids vs Fashion”, shows us the responses of eight-year-old children when shown campaigns of leading fashion houses. As you might expect, the project stirred up a very relevant and much-needed discussion that goes hand-in-hand with the #MeToo and #NoisNo movements.

For years fashion advertising has been misrepresenting the role of women

We’ve grown used to seeing images of women in veiled (and not so veiled) violent situations in fashion editorials, carefully produced and glossed up with touches of glamour and sexiness. So much so that French fashion editor Carine Roitfeld is proud and praised to be the creator of the movement ‘pornification of fashion’. And not only porn and erotic chic, but fashion is also responsible for the glorification of addiction, called the heroin-chic aesthetic, which put Kate Moss in the spotlight. And Yolanda Dominguez’s “Kids vs Fashion” project shows children’s reactions to these photos. Although humorous at first, it exposes the implicit violence and inequality of how women are viewed, hence treated, by the fashion industry.

Objectifying and misogyny

In the eyes of these young children, the women in the fashion shots look hungry, sad, scared, drunk, drugged, ill, or dead, run over by a truck. In another campaign, children say the women are bad and are fighting; other seems to have fainted or are dead. And how do the same children perceive men in fashion campaigns? Well, men look like superheroes, studying to go to university or powerful and happy business people. In the end, most children offered to help these women, wanting to tell them not to be sad and scared, to find shelter for them, or taking them to the hospital. Shocking, right?

The kids’ reaction is so unique

The hidden messages behind fashion campaigns but also movies and music that objectify women can, and will, influence the way women are treated in real life. The “Kids vs Fashion” project tackles a much-debated topic that shouldn’t be taken lightly if we want to see some real changes.

This article is updated because the subject is still relevant in 2022.