Instead of a strut down the runway, she’s taking a hike.
Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbekistan’s murderous dictator Islam Karimov, was set to show her latest fashion lineup next week. But Fashion Week’s producers had second thoughts.
Apparently, violent and secretive governments don’t jibe with their larger mission. So, after facing pressure from human rights groups, Fashion Week organizer IMG has canceled Karimova’s show. Sources say Human Rights Watch had been in contact for a week with IMG to bring to light the egregious abuses in Uzbekistan, and IMG was reportedly exploring its options for canceling the show. Late Friday night, an IMG spokesman announced that the show had indeed been shuttered.
Human Rights Watch immediately expressed their satisfaction. “The decision by New York Fashion Week to cancel a show by the daughter of Uzbekistan’s abusive ruler sends a message to the Uzbek government that its appalling human rights record is of global concern,” the group said in a statement Friday night.
Karimova is well-known as a philanthropist and businesswoman. In fact, she exhibited her clothing line in a runway show at last year’s New York Fashion Week. But her image has been tarnished in light of the recent WikiLeaks releases, where she was labeled a “robber baron” and “the single most hated person in the country” for being complicit in her father’s brutal regime. And in a direct blow to her fashion line, recent allegations have accused Karimova’s Guli line of dabbling in illegality, using forced child labor to pick cotton for her clothing.