Women’s fashion retailer Revolve has received sharp criticism following the release of a sweater which read “Being fat is not beautiful, it’s an excuse”.
We don’t know how anyone thought this was a good idea.
At a time when fashion is taking steps to become more inclusive, Revolve severely missed the mark with the release of the sweater, retailed at £162 (A$293).
The sweatshirt was the result of a collaboration between Revolve and Lena Dunham, creator of award-winning TV show Girls.
The clothing company has been working with high-profile women to raise awareness on cyberbullying by taking hateful quotes and turning them into works of art.
However, Dunham quickly jumped to social media to bash the release of the sweater with her own statement on the message it sent.
In a lengthy Instagram caption, the actress explains all of her designs were made for women to reclaim the messages of trolls and internet hate.
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For months I’ve been working on a collaboration with my friend Pia’s company LPA through parent company @revolve – sweatshirts that highlight quotes from prominent women who have experienced internet trolling & 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, or that lack of diversity in representation is a huge part of the problem (in fact, the problem itself.) As a result, I cannot support this collaboration or lend my name to it in any way. This isn’t meant to shame Pia or the great work she’s done with LPA. I am deeply disappointed in @revolve’s handling of a sensitive topic and a collaboration rooted in reclaiming the words of internet trolls to celebrate the beauty in diversity and bodies and experiences that aren’t the industry norm. *** I’d like to especially extend my love and support to @palomija, whose quote was the first to be promoted and mangled. She’s a hero of mine. Like me, she gave her quote in good faith and shared her vulnerability in order to support arts education and to spread her message of empowerment, and she wasn’t consulted in the marketing. Not an ounce of negativity should be sent her way. *** My only goal on this planet is to empower women through art and dialogue. I’m grateful to every woman who shared a quote and so disappointed that our words were not honored. As a result, I will be making a donation to the charity of every woman’s choice who was wronged with me and I hope that @revolve will join me with a contribution of their own. *** P.S. This Rubens painting makes me happy because it’s about women joining in love, but he didn’t recognize diversity at all- he just loved curvy butts. Problematic fave.
“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,” Dunham wrote.
“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…”
Dunham went on to say she has cut ties with the clothing company following the release of the sweatshirt.
“As a result, I cannot support this collaboration or lend my name to it in any way.”
Unsurprisingly, social media blew up over the sweater when images were first released.
— KayMo (@XoXoKaymo) 13 September 2018
?? your fat shaming is disgusting and I hope you go out of business. ??
— Saira – Moms Demand Aurora (@SairaCSU) 12 September 2018
This is awful! #boycott
— Kee Pieces. (@keepieces) 13 September 2018
Revolve released a statement and subsequently removed the sweater following the controversy.
The clothing company admitted, “We messed up big.”
It does put into question, however, the priorities of Revolve – how nobody in the execution process of the sweater and the photoshoot questioned its release.
Clearly, fashion has a long way to go.