The fashion industry is more expansive than ever with constant access at our fingertips to brands through social media outlets (cough cough, Instagram) and online shopping websites. You can now browse and purchase your entire season’s wardrobe without ever having to leave your bed-homebodies rejoice! This instant gratification is nice but it comes with a whole new set of obstacles the fashion industry must overcome. To stay relevant on social media and sell, there is constant pressure to have the latest trends available and in the hands of influencers to advertise ASAP.
In a matter of seconds (or Tweets) a brand can go from PC to PR nightmare. We’ve gathered a list of some fashion brand faux pas that have resulted in some major “what were they thinking?!” moments. Yikes.
The most recent fashion brand blunder happened just last week when Revolve received backlash over a “Being fat is not beautiful it’s an excuse” sweatshirt. The fashion company, which was created by two men with zero fashion background, is now a multi-billion-dollar empire that caters to millennial women. The sweatshirt was a part of a collection designed by LPA’s founder Pia Arrobio that also included quotes from Lena Dunham, Cara Delevingne and Emily Ratajkowski. Backlash ensued on Twitter as people expressed their frustrations.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Revolve said that the collection was prematurely released on the website.
“The capsule collection was set to debut tomorrow as a direct commentary on the modern day ‘normality’ of cyber-bullying and the shared desire to create a community for those most affected by the epidemic.” a Revolve spokesperson said.
Proceeds were set to benefit “Girls Write Now,” a charity focused on mentoring underserved young women and helping them find their voices and tell their stories through writing, according to the PEOPLE statement.
2. Urban Outfitters
Another notable fashion low has to be Urban Outfitter’s faux blood-stained Kent State sweatshirt from 2014. The one-of-a-kind sweatshirt sold for $129 and was a clear reference to the 1970 shooting of four students protesting the Vietnam War at the Ohio School by the Army National Guard. The Internet blasted Urban Outfitters for its poor taste and Kent State University released an official statement expressing their disbelief for the insensitivity of the item.
Urban Outfitters posted an apology on Twitter saying that they never wanted to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970.
Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused. It (cont) http://t.co/o3oKyPJFu8
— Urban Outfitters (@UrbanOutfitters) September 15, 2014
The fast-fashion mogul is no stranger to controversy with several garment scandals throughout the years that have received backlash from customers on and off social media. The most recent scandal occurred when First Lady Melania Trump wore one of the company’s designs to visit immigrant children who has been forcibly separated from their parents. The olive green jacket was embroidered with the words “I really don’t care, do u?”
Melania Trump's jacket stunt thrusts Zara-parent Inditex into the spotlight https://t.co/x4V4Dr2tn6 pic.twitter.com/VRyM8TLXQl
— Ad Age (@adage) June 24, 2018
“I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” written on the back of Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2018
According to an article by the Washington Post, Zara has a three-part process for vetting its products. Zara spokeswoman Amaya Guillermo says the company uses an algorithm to scan each garment for insensitive or offensive language or elements.
H&M has also been under fire for a sweatshirt advertisement that was released earlier this year. The company’s ‘monkey’ ad featured a black kid wearing a sweatshirt with the words “coolest monkey in the jungle” written on the front. The scandal received public scrutiny and accusations of racism all over social media.
woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore… pic.twitter.com/P3023iYzAb
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
The Weeknd and G-Eazy both cut ties from the company and voiced they would no longer be working with H&M.
According to an interview with the Washington Post, the parents of the child have said that they do not believe the ad was racist.