#HATEISAVIRUS: This Fashion Campaign Combats Discrimination & Imagines Our World Post COVID-19

Words by Sonam Naidu

Well renowned for his innovative aesthetic and brilliant fantastical work that encompasses a deeper intent of empowerment and compassion, Reinhardt Kenneth conceives a unique opportunity to heal through art and create a vital impact surrounding our current global reality COVID – 19. In the state of panic to raise awareness, initiate conversations and provide a voice to the voiceless, the Indonesian fashion/celebrity photographer is certainly “leaving his mark, one shot a time” through his latest campaign: #HATEISAVIRUS.

Times felt uncertain for Reinhardt, as he fathomed news footage of Asian Americans globally being victims of harassment/hatred and visualized the shocking reserve of daily essentials and groceries, spread across every internet page. Deciding to take a stance, he called upon an unmatched group of the finest visionaries to extend his strong perception of how blame, hatred, xenophobia, mass hysteria and the abuse of privilege can be an even deadlier virus then contracting corona virus. Alongside his team, he created revolutionary and dynamic images, combating the cruel discrimination and illustrating his vision of what could be our post-apocalyptic world.

Triggered by the selfish acts and ignorant behavior of human beings, each set of images capitalizes on the terrifying aftermath we could wake up to see post COVID – 19. By highlighting the “consequences of error in human behavior starring empowered Asian models – in face masks” – Reinhardt and his team tapped into new territory to NOT glamorize the pandemic but to raise our attentiveness to being kind, compassionate, mindful and as educated as possible, WHILE still maintaining to flatten the curve and practice social distancing. #HATEISAVIRUS advocates that if as humans we continue to sustain these irrational, unkind and ill-informed measures, our near future could become a world we do not want to live in.

Heavily inspired by traditional Asian clothing with a contemporary flair, Reinhardt transformed the “survivors” of the pandemic to Asian warriors. The warriors are symbolic to a virtue of strength, emphasizing the subjects (targeting all Asian nationalities since the virus initiated from China) who have suffered xenophobia and hate crime in this time. The warriors are immersed within protest signs, reading “hate is a virus” and “I am not a virus” – encouraging our community to come together to spread love and unity during these unforeseen times.

** DISCLAIMER: Making sure to be mindful of NOT wasting – only five face masks were utilized repeatedly in these images, and everything extra that is seen is post work  **

Representing mass hysteria in the future, women adorned in eccentric pigtails and adorable cocktail dresses are amidst destruction and mad chaos of flying face masks that are too late to salvage and are already wasted. These images emphasize the selfish acts of human behavior – rather than prioritizing masks for health care workers and other front liners during the pandemic, individuals are hoarding them which in turn will be waste post COVID – 19.

Stressing the juxtaposition of the luxury fashion steampunk women, resting upon an ocean of corona virus waste created through privilege and abuse.  These images elaborate the panic mayhem for essentials such as hand soap, sanitizer bottles and medical gloves which will inhabit in mountains of waste for our apocalyptic future.

The “girls from the future” fearlessly strike a pose in front of a “graveyard of shopping carts” – what used to be carts. These images highlight the zest of human greed due to the scarcity of produces by amplifying our current panic buying culture and unnatural hoarding. Further expanding on the negative consequences of our actions, this grants us a bitter glimpse of what the virtue of greed can achieve.

Photographer & Creative Director Reinhardt Kenneth
Producer Thomas Bang
Fashion by Diana Couture, Michael Ngo, Kenneth Barlis, Gregory Kara, Zlatko Jovanovski, Weird Brain Creation, Roman Thevenin Paris &The One&Only UPRISERS (The Archives & Showroom)
Fashion Stylist Michelle Wu
Lighting Director Summer Wuerthner
Makeup Artist Eiko Watanabe
Hair Stylist Carisa Arellano
Videography Randy Vu & Joe Rojas
Models Mei Li Zheng (Mazza Models) & Priscila Natalina
Photographer’s Assistant Jenna Nikole & Rieannon
Campaign SupporterMichelle K Hanabusa at Uprisers World & Hate is a Virus

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