Online retailer Revolve has come under fire this week after a very questionable marketing decision.
The website received massive amounts of criticism after launching a sweatshirt designed by fashion brand IPA featuring the quote:
Being fat isn’t beautiful, it’s an excuse.
The collection—originally conceived by LPA alongside celebrities Lena Dunham, Emily Ratajkowski, Cara Delevingne, Suki Waterhouse, and Paloma Elsesser, was designed to bring attention to cyberbullying. The comment on the sweatshirt is allegedly one plus-size model Paloma Elsesser has heard before — the words “as said to @palomija” are printed below in a much smaller font.
We think the quote is offensive regardless of who’s wearing it, but Revolve have been targeted for choosing to have a slim model wearing it on their website. The sweatshirt was also only offered up to size XL.
A screenshot of the model was circulated among body-positive activists—including Felicity Hayward, Tess Holliday, and Jameela Jamil, who criticised Revolve for body shaming.
— Felicity (@FelicityHayward) September 12, 2018
— Tess Holliday ? (@Tess_Holliday) September 12, 2018
— Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) September 12, 2018
On Instagram, reactions were just as vocal. London-based artist and social advocate Florence Given reached out to LPA, who responded by saying that the sweatshirts are part of a collaboration with five women highlighting “the worst troll quotes” and were meant to “shine the light on how horrible trolling is.”
They said Revolve put the sweatshirts up early and that proceeds from selling the $168 top were to “benefit charity.” Florence also said that Paloma told her that she is “mortified.”
View this post on Instagram
I heard back from @palomija and she told me she is MORTIFIED about how this quote has been used, and is asking for her quote to be pulled • The brand @lpa responded and they have got @revolve to take down the shots – this is our convo. Problematic marketing = a problem with diversity in the work place. This is still incredibly problematic and an awful attempt at ‘claiming back’ toxic narratives because (in my opinion) it just gives them power by putting them back into the world and at a £162 price tag. The designs went up to XL, so the women who this tee is supposed to ‘empower’ probably wouldn’t even fit into one. But at least we got the pics taken down…Ugh.
Writer/actress Lena Dunham, one of the collaborators on the collection, has responded to the backlash expressing her disappointment. She said the controversial piece is a part of a line of clothing she has been working on for months to “highlight quotes from prominent women who have experienced internet trolling and abuse.”
This is a cause very close to my heart and the proceeds were meant to benefit charities that help young women by empowering them to express themselves through writing and art.
Without consulting me or any of the women involved, Revolve presented the sweatshirts on thin white women, never thinking about the fact that difference and individuality is what gets you punished on the Internet.
She continued to say that she could not support the collaboration or lend her name to it in any way, and that her “only goal on this planet is to empower women through art and dialogue.”
The Girls creator then went on to say she would be making a donation to the charity of Every Woman’s Choice, the organisation the proceeds made from the sweatshirts was meant to go to.