As the rich and slim flocked to the waterfront convention centre for Rio de Janeiro’s glitzy bi-annual fashion show, prostitutes in a downtown square took to a cobblestone catwalk for a show of their own. Sex service workers from Davida, a Brazilian organisation that defends the rights of prostitutes, strutted through the streets wearing their new line of fall/winter clothes.
The brand’s name is Daspu, is a play on “Daslu,” one of Brazil’s most expensive and exclusive fashion names being displayed across town by top models like Gisele Bundchen. Gabriela Leite, a founder of Daspu, said it was no mistake that her show was running on Fashion Rio’s biggest night.
“This fashion show today makes up part of our fall/winter collection that is not on the official agenda of Fashion Rio because we were never invited. Once again, social responsibility does not appear where it should appear,” Leite said.
According to organizers, the new 2007 fall/winter line draws from the deep well of artists inspired by prostitutes, from Toulouse Lautrec and Pablo Picasso to Madonna and Sting. Hired models and prostitutes walked a makeshift catwalk in an alleyway in Rio’s red-light district, throwing condoms to an animated crowd of hundreds.
There were spartan and utilitarian shirts with black and white blocks, colorful prints and plenty of eye-catching incarnations of the staple of the industry: the miniskirt. An eclectic group of spectators - including deserters from Fashion Rio looking for something different - ended the evening dancing samba to a live drum troupe.
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