Revolve clothing has recently come under scrutiny for their problematic launch of what was intended to be a body positive campaign involving several celebrities including Lena Dunham, and Paloma Elsesser. This was in collaboration with the clothing label LPA by Pia Arrobio. The campaign included the release of sweatshirts that feature “trolling” quotes directed at one of the celebrities on the team. The quote that hit the headlines(and raised quite a few eyebrows)was directed towards Paloma Elsesser, a plus-size model represented by IMG Models. The quote reads:
Taken out of context, this quote portrays an entirely different message than the women who worked with Revolve may have intended. This is a result of poor marketing on behalf of Revolve including the choice of model, and sizing of the sweatshirt itself.
The sweatshirt– which can be seen in the above link, is worn by a slender model that remains anonymous. Paloma’s quote is enlarged as the main feature which was taken out of context. Towards the very bottom of the sweatshirt, you can see the explanation behind the quote in a minuscule font. You can barely see this when looking at the sweatshirt and are only able to read it clearly by zooming into the picture. At first glance, the quote is very offensive and the fact that is it sported by a non-plus size woman makes matters even worse.
The internet was quick to tear down Revolve’s blunder, as were several plus size advocates, including Tess Holiday:
— Tess Holliday 🥀 (@Tess_Holliday) September 12, 2018
Revolve quickly pulled their collection within minutes of release, and although this situation seems to have ended as quickly as it started- this isn’t the first-time fashion companies have released problematic clothing items. Several brands, including Urban Outfitters, have released problematic items on their websites.
For example, in 2010 Urban Outfitters released a t-shirt featuring the slogan “Eat Less” on an extremely skinny model. Several people, including Sophia Bush, famous for her appearance on the tv show “One Tree Hill” boycotted the company for “promoting” Anorexia. Bush posted an open letter to the company on her blog expressing her distaste for the collection.
Whether the intentions are good or bad, companies need to pay attention to the merchandise they sell to their consumers. We have young girls who can potentially see and wear your products and be heavily impacted by them. This isn’t to say that all companies are alike in their problematic practices. Companies like Aerie are setting the stage for body positivity by including women of all shapes and sizes(and disabilities!) as models for their products. Revolve decided to donate $20,000 to Girls Write Now after the backlash, and although the intentions may have been good for the release, this incident serves as a lesson for all fashion companies(and all businesses in general) to consider how the release of a product \will affect all types of people of all shapes, sizes, and colors!
*Featured Image from Pexels