As this breaking news controversy becomes last weeks news, and people go back to shopping at H&M, maybe ask yourself “what was the point?”.
This week’s H&M controversy has had consumers and celebrities outraged with the international Swedish brand. When a picture of a young black boy who modeled a hoodie that read “coolest monkey in the jungle”, while the young white boy modeled a hoodie that read “official survival expert” was available for sell on H&M’s online store, the internet declared this affordable brand canceled. If you consciously understand the subliminal message perceived in this ad, whether it was intentional or not, whether it went over the heads of the individuals in charge of the ad or not, this should not be breaking news. As far as I am concerned, H&M has been canceled.
Back in 2015 H&M opened a couple of stores in South Africa, yet inside these stores, the posters had mainly white models and people were not pleased. Considering, you know, that it was in South Africa. On Twitter, a disappointed fashion blogger tweeted at H&M’s South African account for them to “please work on that to appeal to everyone.” The company responded by saying that, “H&M’s marketing has a major impact and it is essential for us to convey a positive image.” H&M later tweeted an apology that said, “they are a global brand that embraces all people.” In so little words H&M “mistakenly” insisted that white models convey positive images, while black models convey negative images.
Like I said, H&M has been canceled.
As with any controversy that elicits public outrage, damage control is not only imperative, but the apology should be prudent. H&M released a statement that said, “We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken and we also regret the actual print.” H&M clarified once again how they embrace all people by stating that, “We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will be reviewing all our internal policies accordingly to avoid any future issues.”
Creative influencer Chris Classic changed the narrative of this negative controversy in his Instagram picture (shown) by celebrating the child model with “King of the World” placed above his crowned head with a crown logo covering up the words on his hoodie.
As this breaking news controversy becomes last weeks news, and people go back to shopping at H&M, maybe ask yourself “what was the point?”. What was the point of being so unapologetically angry at a fast fashion company if you will continue to give them your coins? It is time to shop sustainable, to shop with local boutiques and brands who not only embrace all people but the environment and ethical working conditions as well. It is time to change our narrative; to change where we shop – with those brands who are making a difference – and why – so that we can do our part in the sustainable fashion movement.
Not sure where to start. Check out our article, “Make Sustainable Fashion Your New Year’s Resolution.”