REVOLVE's Trolling Campaign Went Very, Very Wrong
A US fashion label has come under fire on social media after they released a sweatshirt to their store with an incredibly inappropriate slogan. And to be honest we can’t believe that anyone actually signed off on this hitting the shelves.
Plus-size model and body positivity ambassador Tess Holliday is the one who first called out the retailer Revolve for releasing a jumper that literally reads: “being fat is not beautiful, it’s an excuse.”
In an image posted to Revolve’s website the sweatshirt in question can be seen modelled on a skinny brunette model. Tess tweeted a picture of the jumper along with the caption: “LOLLLLL @Revolve ya’ll are a mess.”
The slogan is written on the sweatshirt as a quote and underneath is the origin: “as said to @palomija” which is the Instagram handle for Paloma Elsesser, a famous plus-size model.
As it turns out, the sweater has been designed by LPA as part of a larger collection with the intention of calling out things that trolls have said online. But many people think that they’ve missed the mark a bit, seeming to glorify the comments rather than shut them down.
After receiving bad feedback, LPA said, “the sweatshirts went up early on Revolve for some reason but it’s a collaboration with five women with the worst troll quotes.”
“The point was to shine a light on how horrible trolling is. The proceeds benefit charity. So basically it’s the opposite of what it seems,” wrote the brand in a DM to social issues advocate Florence Given.
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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.
Actress Lena Dunham originally collaborated with LPA on this collection and she has since taken to social media to clarify the basis behind the designs and to express her anger over how Revolve represented them incorrectly.
“…Without consulting me or any of the women involved, @revolve presented the sweatshirts on thin white women never thinking about the fact that different and individuality is what gets you punished on the Internet, or that lac of diversity in representation is a huge part of the problem,” she wrote on Instagram.
“As a result, I cannot support this collaboration or lend my name to it in any way.”
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For months I’ve been working on a collaboration with 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. 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.
Revolve has since issued a statement regarding the controversy saying, “This morning, images of a forth coming LPA collection were prematurely released on Revolve.com.
“The capsule collection - originally conceived by LPA alongside Lena Dunham, Paloma Elsesser and other inspiring women - 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.”
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THE ENTIRE COLLECTION HAS BEEN PULLED. WE DID THIS. However, @revolve still have some problematic things to work through - they still fucked up. This collection and @revolve still suck. This isn’t over. The war on fat bodies in the media isn’t over. These eating disorder inducing narratives aren’t over. But, we stopped THIS one from being launched. Thank you for pulling your collective voices together with me and giving a shit. We did it this time..
They have also decided to pull the collection and will now donate $20,000 to “Girls Write Now”, a foundation that aims to help young women find their voices through writing.