Taboo Beauty Talk at VICE’s Fashion Week Internationale In Jamaica
Most media outlets only highlight the mainstream when it comes to fashion week: New York, London, Paris, and Milan reign as the quartet of annual fall, spring, resort, and men's shows — each a fashion capital in their own right. But VICE, the self-appointed “definitive guide to enlightening information,” took its own spin on annual sartorial showcases and put the spotlight on less-covered fashion weeks. From Cambodia and Rio de Janeiro to Nigeria and Colombia, VICE'sCharlet Duboc gives viewers the scoop on the darker side of lesser known fashion weeks all over the world, no matter how controversial or taboo those politics may be. The latest stop on her Fashion Week Internationale list: Kingston, Jamaica.
Duboc explored two sensational trends in Kingston during Caribbean Fashion Week, that had little, if anything, to do with what happens on the catwalk: skin-bleaching and chicken pills. While the lithe models at the Caribbean's fashion sector insisted that these were not tenets of their own lives, VICE ventured to areas where the aforementioned trends were regarded as being in line with “fashion.” Duboc found women, men, boys, and girls who admitted to using illegal peroxide-based mixtures and wrapping their bodies in saran to achieve a “brown” look that is deemed more fashionable. The trend is championed by the island's biggest stars, like Lysa Hyper, and trickles down to lower-income areas where people choose to use the term toning over bleaching, despite the health controversies surrounding it. Another “fashion” trend: chicken pills. While the pill is said to have originated from a hormone given to chickens to plump them up, Duboc found that in Jamaica, the pills can be any over-the-counter drug that produces a side effect of weight gain. Her subjects in the documentary cited celebrities like Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj as inspiration to consume the pills and attain similarly curvy figures. Bleached skin and chicken pills have little to do with color-blocked swimwear and Caribbean couture, but as VICE points out, they set fashion and beauty standards in Jamaica, all against a dancehall soundtrack.
Dancehall sensation Lysa Hyper — a proponent of skin bleaching — with host, Charlet Duboc