At first glance, human rights activists and the News Corp-owned New York Post do not seem to be natural allies. But they have teamed up to turn Gulnara Karimova, an aspiring fashion designer who is the daughter of Uzbek strongman Islam Karimov, into a radioactive commodity in the couture community.
A torrent of protests and bad press created a public relations nightmare for the organizers of Fashion Week in New York, where Karimova had been scheduled to hold a high-profile show of her Guli fashion line on September 15. IMG, Fashion Week’s producer, ultimately decided to pull the plug on Karimova’s runway extravaganza, the Post first reported on September 9.
“The fashion industry has made the right move. This should serve as a wake-up call for the Uzbek government,” said Steve Swerdlow, the Uzbekistan researcher for Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international watchdog organization that has been among Tashkent’s severest critics.
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This story contains reporting by Katya Kumkova.