The dead terrorist, Sharky Jama, was originally from Somalia, but had recently become a sought-after model on the renowned and trend-setting fashion circuit in Melbourne, the undisputed style capital of south-eastern Australia.
The precise circumstances of Jama’s death last week are still unknown, but it’s understood that when he was killed he was wearing retro-chic “chocolate chip” U.S. desert camouflage, the iconic fatigue uniform which achieved widespread popularity following the first Gulf War and features comfortably cut double-pleated pants with a high waistline, paired with a single-breasted shirt with wide lapels and button cuffs. The ensemble was tastefully set off with a Palestinian-inspired red and white keffiyeh headdress and sunglasses by Ralph Lauren.
The outfit was complemented by a striking pair of black “Boots: Combat: High” designed by the U.K. Ministry of Defence in the early 1980s but deemed unsuitable for wear by British forces in desert climates and subsequently sold to a number of Middle-Eastern regimes at knock-down prices in the 1990s. These were worn in a casual fashion, two sizes too big and without laces.
Benetton are known for a history of provocative marketing imagery. They grabbed headlines back in the 1990s with shocking advertisements showing AIDS patients and death row inmates, and with its 2011 UNHATE campaign which portrayed the Pope kissing a Muslim cleric.
But the company has struggled to gain attention with its recent TASTELESS campaign which features images such as a young boy picking his nose, a drunken young woman throwing up in the street, and a homeless man wetting himself.
The Milan show, titled OK THEN, HATE, will feature leading supermodels sporting body-concealing Islamic garments from its new “Modesty” line, including fashionably styled “jihadi bride” burkas. Male models will showcase edgy takes on Western-style combat gear, as well as flowing Arab robes festooned with bespoke leather ammunition bandoliers. The highlight of the show is expected to be a guest appearance from Naomi Campbell modeling a gold, diamond-encrusted hijab.
Responding to critics of the show, a spokesman for Benetton said that while Jama may have been a ruthless bloodthirsty killer, he was first and foremost a model, and as such deserved to be remembered as someone who sought to spread peace and love, and bring the people of the Middle East and wider humanity together through fashion.
The spokesman acknowledged that most fashion designers and models would struggle to identify the approximate location of the Middle East on an oversized, simplified kindergarten map of the world printed on a large carpet used for classroom nap time. But he stressed that this wasn’t important, because, “All the people of the world are the same under the skin … It’s what you wear on the outside that counts.”