We live in the age of the Internet – a place where anyone with a social media account can freely express their anger. Most Internet anger, I think, comes from boredom. I could be wrong, but it is my personal opinion that those who take to Twitter to sound off on the most ridiculous current events like the color of a coffee cup or an ad campaign showcased in a country not of their own, just may not have a lot to do.
But I guess you could say the same could go for me. I am preparing to express my opinions on the the newest H&M “racial debate” however, I am hoping to bring a new perspective to the situation.
H&M recently opened a store in South Africa where its in-store posters only showcase white models. After customers noticed the lack of color, they took to Twitter to express their issues with what they thought, had to do with race. H&M responded with what actually was a pretty half-assed, non-rehearsed response, but the bright side is that those angry tweets were actually acknowledged. Many companies don’t even bother to respond to customer comments posted to social media. But as part of its strategy, H&M feels as though the customer, black or white, IS important enough to speak to directly.
Now let’s break this down a little more. Who’s to say that black models weren’t candidates for the campaign posters. Maybe they just didn’t make the final cut or were unable to show up to the shoot? Or perhaps no poster-worthy models of color showed up to the casting call. We don’t exactly know what went on in the process of creating these in-store posters for H&M. Furthermore, (I really hate this word but it works appropriately here) H&M’s official apology was much more in line with what they seem to actually portray.
“H&M regrets the response to a social media message that was recently aired on Twitter and wishes to clarify the intention of the message. In no way does H&M state that positivity is linked to an ethnic group. H&M is proudly a global brand that embraces all people who are inspired by fashion, regardless of ethnic background, gender or culture. We wish to [apologize] if our message has caused [offense] in any way as this was not the intention.”
The person behind the computer who sent the tweets mentioning white models “portraying positivity” obviously didn’t know how to respond appropriately but made an honest attempt. Looking back, the tweets may have not even been authorized to be sent, but this person felt as though it was a pressing enough situation to just get something out there on the web. Now, I don’t condone tweets not fully thought out, but my point is, there was an effort made to diffuse the situation and defend the global brand.
As a black female in America, I fully support H&M. The company creates fabulous fast fashion at a affordable prices, collaborates with amazing top designers to create pieces for the average consumer (Hello Balmin Collection!), and best of all, they make pants that fit my awkward, wide hips!
For those who still believe H&M is a racist company, even outside of South Africa, walk into a local retailer (Metro Detroit specifically). I guarantee you, half the sales associates on the floor are black and at least one in-store poster expresses diversity. And remember that HUGE campaign with Beyonce? Yea, she’s black.
If I have offended anyone with this post, oops!
*Thanks for reading; you’re F.A.Bulous