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Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTi) : Rankin : The Tear Couture Look Book


British fashion photographer, Rankin, has partnered with Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTi) on a brand new campaign that aims to prevent acid attacks. He has created a Look Book – an essential fashion industry guide to latest styles and fabrics – using acid attack survivor Patricia Lefranc as his model.

The Tear Couture Look Book aims to highlight the devastating effects of acid attacks, and in particular the specific link to the fashion, textiles, retail and manufacturing industries. It raises awareness of the issues associated with acid attacks in a format that is familiar to those industries.

With a foreword by the charity’s Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, the Look Book tells Patricia Lefranc’s personal story through moving and hard-hitting messages, illustrated by portraits of Patricia by Rankin.

Research[1][2] suggests a correlation between legitimate business uses of acid and the incidence of acid attacks in parts of the global south. This was especially noticeable in areas with industries including fashion and textile that require sulphuric acid in large quantities.

With this campaign, ASTi aims to engage industry partners to strengthen processes for a more responsible supply chain.

Rankin commented: “I have a special affinity with the fashion industry and I’ve 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.”

Patricia Lefranc added: “Many people are unaware of the enormous pain and suffering that acid attack survivors go through. 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.”


[1] Acid Violence, Fostering effective implementation of pro-women and girls laws, a report by Acid Survivors Foundation Pakistan, Australian Aid and National Commission on the Status of Women.

[2] Combating acid violence in Bangladesh, India and Cambodia, a report by the Avon Global Center for Women & Justice and International Human Rights Clinic at Cornell Law School, New York City Bar Association and the Virtue Foundation.


Rankin’s Word

It would be hypocritical for me to criticise the fashion industry, as it’s my bread and butter. But when ASTi approached me to photograph Patricia Lefranc for the Tear Couture lookbook, I wanted to help and give them my time to capture Patricia in all her vulnerability and vivaciousness for their great cause.

The way we worked together was very collaborative, that is the way I always work.

My camera is like a window that I invite my talent to look through – to their audience on the other side. Patricia was great, she was the one with the most courage on set. Giving her the choice of which images she liked was key for the lookbook. I encourage that form of collaboration: the choice had to come from her, and if she didn’t like it, it was out.

Patricia is the real activist here, and I’m just a conduit.
Patricia did all the work on the shoot, and I’m just here as a platform to help her and ASTi along…

If it makes a difference in some way, then I’m all for that.



About Tear Couture

The Tear Couture Look Book has been created with McCann Health London. It is a continuation of the agency’s Tear Couture campaign which launched an ASTi report at St. James’ Palace in March 2022 in the presence of HRH Princess Anne. 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 Look Book – was turned into an immersive VR experience where the user journeys through a 3D tear landscape while listening to survivors’ testimonials and a specially composed track by Nitin Sawhney.


Acid Survivor’s Trust International – ASTi

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.

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