Update: Vice have issued an apology regarding their 'Last Words' feature. It can be read here.


You may have noticed Twitter getting its feathers in a twist this morning, as feminist site Jezebel pointed out to everyone that the new issue of the American Vice had run a pretty unsavoury fashion spread.

Called the Women in Fiction issue, the magazine included short stories, interviews… and a fashion piece featuring models posed as famous female writers who'd killed themselves. In the act itself. The spread itself is called ‘Last Words', in what must've been an attempt to be funny and make light of suicide.

Stylist Annette Lamothe-Ramos and photographer Annabel Mehran worked on the feature, which includes mock-ups of the deaths of authors such as Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath. Also depicted is historian Iris Chang, who died in 2004; Vice thought it would be a good idea to depict her death in a fashion spread less than a decade after it had happened.

The spread, of course, lists the clothing worn in each shot. Or not worn, as the case may be. Taiwanese author Sanmao hung herself with a pair of stockings. Vice has included a mention of the brand of tights used in the picture depicting her.

Suicide is not fashionable; the two cannot, and should not, be put together. Here at the 405 we weren't sure whether to run this news piece; we don't want to give Vice (or indeed Jezebel, who will have had a surge in traffic this morning due to their inclusion of the images) any more attention than they deserve.

But it's important to talk about suicide. It's still very much stigmatised – just look at recent coverage of Paris Jackson's recent attempt. We need to discuss depression and suicide, not to make it acceptable as a fashion statement, but in order to make it more possible for those suffering to speak out, and seek help. We're not condoning Vice's spread, but we are going to use it now as a jumping point to encourage people to talk about suicide.

If you are feeling depressed or having thoughts of suicide, you can call or email Samaritans: 08457909090 / jo@samaritans.org or book an appointment to see your GP.