Top fashion and portrait photographer Rankin has helped produce a ’look book’ which aims to raise awareness of acid attacks – and to help prevent them taking place.
A new campaign from Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTi), the Tear Couture Look Book employs a format used in the fashion industry to showcase the latest styles and fabrics to tell the story of acid attack survivor Patricia Lefranc.
The look book aims to highlight the devastating effects of acid attacks, which are more prevalent in regions where fashion and textile industries are based – due to sulphuric acid being required in large quantities.
Photos of Lefranc modelling for Rankin illustrate the book, which also includes a foreword by ASTi patron HRH The Princess Royal.
Noting his long-term affinity with the fashion industry, Rankin says: “I have been delighted to see the changes that have taken place within the industry in recent years to make it more sustainable and responsible.
“When ASTi explained to me the issue of acid misuse within supply chains, I knew I had to take action.”
Lefranc posed for Rankin at the photographer’s studio in north London. She said that being photographed “wasn't easy“, but felt it was important for her to do so, as more and more acid attacks are taking place across the world.
“Many people are unaware of the enormous pain and suffering that acid attack survivors go through,“ she said.
“I’m so grateful to Rankin for this opportunity to raise awareness of our situation, and to take steps together to prevent further attacks.”
Jaf Shah, Executive Director of ASTi, said: “Industry has a key role to play in stopping incidences of acid attacks.
“We’re so grateful to all those helping to bring this issue into the spotlight: HRH Princess Anne for writing the foreword to the Look Book and, of course, Patricia and Rankin.
“With their support we aim to partner with businesses and make the changes needed to achieve this goal together.”
ASTi is a charity based in the UK, but works in the UK and across the world. It is campaigning for an end to the easy access to corrosive substances that are weaponised – most often against women.
Created with McCann Health London, the Tear Couture Look Book is a continuation of the communication agency’s Tear Couture campaign; the agency launched an ASTi report at St James’s Palace in March 2022 in the presence of HRH Princess Anne.
As well as telling Lefranc’s story, the Tear Couture Look Book explains the role that sulphuric acid played in Britain’s Industrial Revolution, how acid attacks have become a global epidemic and the importance of supply chain oversight in restricting the future availability of corrosive liquids including hydrochloric, sulphuric and nitric acid.
In partnership with Thomson Reuters Foundation, Trustlaw and international law firm Covington, ASTi’s report on supply chain considerations for dangerous corrosives, such as acids, contains a toolkit with five key recommendations for corporates.
Maurice Mikkers’ photography of microscopic tears – which also features in the Tear Couture Look Book – was turned into an immersive VR experience where the user journeys through a 3D tear landscape while listening to the testimonials of survivors and a specially composed track by the British/Indian composer Nitin Sawhney.
ASTI is a UK registered not-for-profit charity and the only international organisation whose sole purpose is to end acid violence at a global level.
It has partnered with and received grants from the United Nations, the British Government and numerous foundations on delivering medical, legal, awareness raising, advocacy, rehabilitation and livelihood projects in multiple countries including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Uganda and Cambodia.
ASTI was awarded an Impact Award in 2019 by the Thomson Reuters Foundation for its work on changing UK law.