Rodarte is an upcoming fashion label started by two sisters Kate and Laura. They are known for their overtly feminine yet elegant designs. Rodarte has recently sparked controversy in their development of their “Mexico” line for the popular cosmetics company, M.A.C. Inspired by the colors of Mexico and the surrounding southwest, the uproar surrounds the name of a particular shade of nail polish called “Juarez”. Some people feel that naming a relatively expensive beauty item after an impoverished factory town where young women are raped and murdered is tasteless. Many of these women and young girls live and fear and most of the crimes go unpunished.
M.A.C. has issued an apology stating that they never intended to offend and were inspired by the natural beauty of Mexico. Part of the proceeds of the line will now go to women in need in Juarez.
On the one hand, I understand the sense of outrage and frustration. How can you glorify the “beauty” of a town so ugly and so desperate, and so.. ignored?
The beauty industry has a sinister manipulative and shallow side, the ironies and contrasts between everyday reality and fashion reality are often silly, often sad.
However, make-up and fashion at its very best is a fantasy, and inspiration, an art. This make-up line was not inspired by current despair, but the beauty of the past. The women in Juarez would most likely be hard pressed to even be able to afford the maligned nail polish, which is truly ironic.
However, if it can bring them some long needed attention, if the controversy can raise them from the shadows just a bit, I would say it is not so much trivializing their plight, but is a testimony to the potential of what could be.