Clothing site Revolve faced massive backlash for “fat-shaming” after a tone-deaf sweatshirt was put on display on their platform.
The $168 sweatshirt donned by a skinny model read, “Being fat is not beautiful, it’s an excuse.”
Model Tess Holiday and U.K. based artist Florence Given called out the website and conveyed their shock over the blatant body shaming, when so much has been talked about body positivity.
The sweatshirt is designed by the brand, LPA, which defended the clothing item, claiming it was meant to raise awareness about trolls and bullying with regards to one’s appearance.
“It’s a collaboration with five women with the worst troll quotes,” read the online exchange between LPA and Given. “The point was to shine the light on how horrible trolling is. The proceeds benefit charity. So basically it’s the opposite of what it seems.”
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.
The fact this “awareness” campaign used a skinny model to promote the hateful message, makes it even more problematic. Maybe if the campaign was about owning the hate thrown at you, a plus-size model would have better suited to the narrative and to support the cause as a whole.
According to a statement made by Revolve to HuffPost, the collaboration between LPA and female celebrities, namely Lena Dunham, Emily Ratajkowski, Cara Delevingne, Suki Waterhouse and Paloma Elsesser was meant to create awareness and benefit a charity, Girls Write Now.
“The capsule collection ? originally conceived by LPA alongside Lena Dunham, Emily Ratajkowski, Cara Delevingne, Suki Waterhouse and Paloma Elsesser ? 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,” the statement read.
“The prematurely released images featured on Revolve.com [were] not only included without context of the overall campaign but regrettably featured one of the pieces on a model [whose] size was not reflective of the piece’s commentary on body positivity. We at Revolve sincerely apologize to all those involved ? particularly Lena, Emily, Cara, Suki and Paloma ? our loyal customers, and the community as a whole for this error,” it continued.
The quote on this particular sweatshirt was something a troll said to Elsesser and if one looks closely, written in very fine print at the bottom of the quote is Elsesser’s Instagram handle.
The company was widely panned on Twitter.
So.... @REVOLVE thinks its okay to market this sweatshirt — which only comes up to an XL, by the way — by putting it on a thin model? Considering Revolve doesn't even have diverse influencers this is....A Choice. https://t.co/40R1iWTHkp pic.twitter.com/JhdonQbF3Y— Tyler McCall (@eiffeltyler) September 12, 2018
so the brand that doesn’t cater to women above a size 10 @REVOLVE made these sweatshirts to combat “internet trolling” but decided to put the sweatshirt about fat shaming on a skinny model. pic.twitter.com/4WaeVHDjn2— tiffromthe6 (@tiffromthe6) September 12, 2018
revolve’s new shirt: “being fat is not beautiful, it’s an excuse.”— Nabela (@Nabela) September 12, 2018
me: bet pic.twitter.com/XQwLiNHux6
If I see thin women wearing this “being fat is an excuse” shirt from @REVOLVE ...we’re gonna fight.— Meghan Tonjes (@meghantonjes) September 12, 2018
Hey @REVOLVE what the actual fuck is this??? You actually were my favorite place to online shop but the fact that this made it through however many people it did and on to your website is so fucking mind blowing and disappointing. Biggest fail of a campaign I’ve ever seen pic.twitter.com/mdhOMFXV7n— Jenn McAllister (@jennmcallister) September 13, 2018
After the images of the sweatshirt caused turmoil on social media, Dunham released a statement, distancing herself from the collaboration altogether.
“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,” she wrote on Instagram.
“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 doesn’t take away from my love or respect for what Pia has done with LPA, but 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,” she added.
The clothing item has been pulled from Revolve’s site but before that it helped donate $20,000 to the charity.
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