Top model Alek Wek travels to Myanmar with stylist Vanessa Reid and photographer MIchal Chelbin. Reid chooses dresses paired with pants, corsets with shirting, and other textural layers from the 2019 pre-fall collections, modeled by Wek for T Magazine May 2019.
Visiting Myanmar was important to Alek Wek, who lives in Brooklyn and has worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees since 2012. Wek, a child herself of civil wars in Sudan, is well aware of the suffering and monumental losses Myanmar has faced in its own civil wars. “That needs to be remembered,” she says, “and also addressed.”
Alek shared intimate details of her own refugee story and eventual arrival in London with CNN in September 2017.
The fashion shoot took place among the gilded stupas of Tharkong Pagoda, located about an hour south of Inle Lake. Alek speaks to Myanmar’s beauty and ancient culture up close — extreme beauty infused with terrible suffering among the Rohingya. The majority of the Rohingya are Muslims, with a minority being Hindu. The government of Myanmar considers them to be illegal immigrants primarily from Bangladesh.
On Monday May 20, The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, began his five-day visit to Myanmar, the first visit by the UN refugee chief to Myanmar since August 2017.
This week's visit to Myanmar comes on the heels of the High Commissioner's mission to Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh at the end of April.
UN figures showed that more than 900,000 stateless Rohingya refugees currently live in crowded settlements in Bangladesh's border region of Cox's Bazar, of whom an estimated 741,000 fled from Myanmar since August 2017.
AOC usually takes the side of the Hadid sisters, in the relentless onslaught of online critism against them. We share a feature from August 2018, with Gigi Hadid, also a UN Ambassador for Refugees, in the Jamtoli Refugee Camp in Bangladesh, housing Rohingya Muslims.