Rena Niamh Smith

Behind the cloak of glamour

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In a new series of columns Rena Niamh Smith will look at aspects of the fashion industry, from ideology to racism, sexism and the environment. She begins with Fashion Week and how it conceals the system beneath.

This month, Spring/Summer 2019 Fashion Week swaggers into New York, followed by London, Milan and Paris. The carnival of shows is one of the most visible elements of an industry which cloaks itself in mystery. It is a multimillion-pound charade masking practices typical of capitalism: worker exploitation and artificially high consumption of the world’s resources.

Kahlo’s stature on display

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As the world-leading V&A opens its Frida Kahlo exhibition, Rena Niamh Smith looks at the complex life of this iconic artist.

Frida Kahlo’s image has become a pop cult touchstone. With the crown of flowers, monobrow, dark eyes and the sometimes-omitted moustache, this disabled bisexual Mexican communist’s image is eclipsing Che Guevara’s as the in-the-know poster child for rebellion with a zeitgeist feminist update.

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